4 Year Old’s Veggie Garden Must Go Says USDA Subcontractor

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist August 23, 2013

kitchen gardeners internationalWith each passing day, it seems the United States of America, “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” is becoming more and more like the Communist Russia I learned about in elementary school where people weren’t allowed to grow their own food unless the State “allowed” it.

In this latest crackdown on citizens simply trying to provide for themselves using the most basic of skills – gardening – the USDA’s Rural Development Agency is forbidding Rosie, an industrious 4-year old girl in South Dakota from using a small, unused area outside her subsidized housing unit to grow green vegetables.

Rosie’s mother, Mary (names changed to protect the child’s identity), is single and severely disabled. She and her daughter live on a fixed income disability payment of $628/month. The garden vegetables growing just outside her backdoor lovingly tended by Rosie provide a fresh and healthy addition to their diet that they could not otherwise easily afford.

Rosie started the garden in May 2013, but now the property management company has ordered the garden be removed this week!

The reason?

The property management company claims that gardening goes against the rules set by the USDA’s Rural Development Agency which forbids residents to have structures of any kind within landscaped areas. It seems to me that the practice of growing vegetables by the most needy in our society would take precedence over landscaping, wouldn’t you agree?

I wonder if the USDA plans to establish “rules” about breathing air in subsidized areas too?

The Federal bureaucracy seems to think that it owns those individuals who receive any sort of government assistance and that their behavior is completely within its jurisdiction to control no matter how ridiculous or blatantly un-American the power-tripping “rules” they decide to put in place may be.

Think this is an isolated case?  It’s not.  I write regularly on this blog about these outrageous situations where ordinary citizens are bullied by out of control bureaucrats, the most recent being a Mother in Maine who was harassed and threatened by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for feeding her healthy, robust 3 month old son homemade goat milk formula instead of horribly unhealthy commercial formula from the store laced with rancid vegetable oils and GMOs!

What You Can Do Now to Help Rosie

It is truly unfathomable that our country has degenerated to the point where a person can no longer garden without permission from bureaucratic thugs who get paid with our hard earned tax dollars to think up these rules –  not lawsrules that have never been voted on by the elected representatives of the citizens expected to abide by those rules.

If you recall, this is exactly the sort of authoritarian insanity that started the American Revolutionary War (tea party anyone?).

Tell the USDA where it can put its “rules” against gardening by those living in rural, subsidized areas.

Sample Email to USDA

You can copy/paste the email template below to send directly from your email provider. Template provided courtesy of Kitchen Gardeners International, the source of this story.

To: elsie.meeks@sd.usda.gov

Cc: kevin.strickler@sd.usda.govtrace.davids@sd.usda.gov

Subject: Allow USDA-subsidized housing residents to grow vegetable gardens

Message body:

Dear Director Meeks,

I urge you to make a loud and clear statement to all the property management companies your agency contracts that USDA-subsidized residents have the right to keep their own vegetable gardens provided that these gardens are actively maintained. Vegetable gardens grow healthy and affordable foods as well as a sense of community. Rather than preventing low-income and disabled residents from providing for themselves, we should be doing everything we can to encourage them. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely yours,

(Your name, your town, your state)

Important Updates to This Story

8/27/2013: FINAL UPDATE and details on Rosie’s Victory Garden!

8/26/2013:  A detailed update to this story is provided here.

8/25/2013:  Roger Doiron, Director of Kitchen Gardeners International, has provided more details on this emerging story. The USDA has claimed in email correspondence to Mr. Doiron that it has no written rules preventing Mary and Rosie from having a garden (despite the property management company’s insistence to the contrary). On the other hand, the USDA hasn’t come to Mary and Rosie’s defense either and by allowing the property management company it has a contract with to call the shots and bully Mary and Rosie it is essentially enforcing such a rule no matter what is claimed via email.

Bureaucratic rules are notoriously confusing to understand let alone interpret, but if the USDA stands behind its assertion that there are no “rules” – written OR unwritten – against gardening in subsidized housing, it should stop the property management company under the auspices of the USDA from forcing Mary and Rosie to remove their garden.

The USDA pays most of the rent for Mary and thousands of citizens like her around the United States.  It should do the right thing and insist that property owners and managers of subsidized housing permit residents to grow their own food in well cared for gardens rather than look the other way when residents are bullied for their efforts at self sufficiency.  After all, the stated mission of the USDA Rural Development Agency is to “improve the quality of life in rural America”. Gardening surely would be supportive of this important goal.

Source

Kitchen Gardeners International (KGI).  Rosie and Mary’s real names and exact location in South Dakota have not been revealed in order to protect the identity of a minor child.  Please contact KGI Director Roger Doiron, roger@kgi.org if you wish to further verify the validity of this story.

 

Comments (386)

  1. I’m convinced there isn’t a single person in government or education that has any common sense any more. Ridiculous!

    • I disagree, Jen. I think they know exactly what they are doing, just like the communists in Russia and China did, when they started to decide who could and could not eat.

      • That’s not true (the part about Russia). During communism you are allowed to do whatever you want with the land, it was during the PRE communism were people were not allowed to plant anything and no one decide who could or could not eat… it’s US propaganda against Soviet Union stated that.
        But back to the story: It is terrible to not allowed something like that stay! I can’t believe in it!!!

        • There are so many first hand accounts that say that under communism people were forced off their land and thus not free to grow what they wanted or worked to grow crops that were taken for the collective that the world accepts this as historical fact.
          I am astonished at your comment and others that I’m assuming to be made by young Russians. Do you have no family accounts of your history? You sound brainwashed.
          My family is Russian and we know firsthand that this is not American propaganda.

          • Of course, farmers had been driven away and even arrested or killed, but that´s an other question… Any citizen could have a dacha and grow whatever he wanted. No one forbid any kind of vegetables. Pravda, I don´t think you are Russian.

        • Scarlet, I suggest you read the book BLOODLANDS, by Timothy Snyder. Pravda is exactly right. Not only were people forced off the land, their food production was seized and many starved to death. The Holocaust gets all the attention, but NAZI and Stalin regimes killed over 14 million people. Because this land fell behind the IRON Curtain after WWII, their history has been left in darkness.

          • Dennis, stop saying rubbish. I was born USSR in 1972 and we got our land for pennies and were allowed to grow whatever we wanted. And the village people could grow whatever they wanted and had even bigger pieces of land. In fact, we still have the land. So stop the cheating.

            Now, that kind of thing as described here is something that is even worse that what’s going on in now on the Postsoviet territory. I feel pity for the Americans. They are not free anymore.

          • You are right, but these are two different questions. They killed farmers as well as intellectuals… but no one was forbidden to grow his cabbage in his garden.

        • WTF …!!!.. Does it REALLY matter in what ‘mode’ or part of communism your in where there is a period (even in “PRE communism”) where people STARVE… Scarlet, next time just post your name as “The Biggest fan of communism”… It’s AMAZING how far our public education has dropped… WOW…

        • I live in Ukraine, which was then considered part of Russia. Yes, land owners were forced of their and any food they had was taken from them, but then ‘crop’ land was given to families, according to the size of the family, but it could only be used for growing food and the family could be punished for not growing food on it. Many families still have the land, the house I bought here still has the land, as do my neighbours. Once independents came quite a few sold the land to make money, but after while the people began to realise it was best if they kept the land.

          Although the land outside the front of our homes (the other side of the fence), is considered as owned by the village we are encouraged to plant fruit trees. Even today, if the crop land isn’t used for it’s purpose, it can be taken away and given to someone who will use it. This happened to a man in our village a few years back.

    • And once again the people and news media bitch about the wrong story.
      The true story here is a SINGLE woman who is severely disabled with a 4 year old child on government assistance complaining about who she cant have her way.
      Instead it should be whats a severely disabled person on public assistance doing having a child out of wedlock when she cant even take care of herself let alone a child.

      • Vic, you are presumptuous in your thinking. You sir are no Christian, not one shred of compassion were found in your words . . . And I might add, cruel

      • Vic, show us please that it states the child was born out of wedlock. Show us please the proof this woman is not a widow. Show us please the proof that she has not cared for this little girl properly. You need to get your head out of your pompous butt! You know nothing yet you presume to know it all. YOU are what’s wrong with this country today!

        • Beth, if the child’s mother was married she probably wouldn’t qualify for the free housing. If the she is a widow I would assume that the child and her would be receiving SS death benefits. While it is true that we are lacking complete information to know the full story, you are making a fool of yourself assuming that Vic is what is wrong with this country. He is probably more likely to be someone who is supporting this country and the tragic life of a four year old that is forced to grow vegetables and probably care for herself. The story does let us know that the mother is severely disabled. Someone severely disabled to the point that they are unable to perform work to take care of their self cant care for a child.

          • Robert – you are as big an ass**** as Vic. You make a lot of bigoted assumptions and project your prejudices on this situation without any real knowledge of the facts. Was the woman disabled when she had the child? Um… you don’t know. Was the woman married but has been abandoned by or is separated from her husband… possibly escaping an abusive situation? Um.. you don’t know. Was the woman deceived by some man that she thought was going to stay with her? We don’t know about that either. Is the child the result of rape or incest? Again… you don’t know. I could go on but the point is that you don’t know squat about this situation and yet you feel free to make a bunch of negative assumptions about these unfortunate people.

            People like you and Vic who are always ready to assume the worst and are more interested in trying to blame people for their misfortunes instead of reacting with a little compassion… much less love… are, indeed, exactly what is wrong with this country.

      • The landowner going after the government guaranteed taxpayer funded rent check, is somehow better than anyone else on public assistance?
        The landowner has the right to determine the rules for his own property. That is not the case in this situation. the USDA, a government agency is making up the rules that must be followed in order to be eligible for taxpayer’s money. Because the Gubmint knows best.

      • You’re a certain little D-word that happens to rhyme with your name, sir. The amount of ignorance you show in comment is outstanding. For all you know, this woman may have been disabled in a car accident that took her husbands life or something. Take your head out of your high strung asshole and stop judging innocent people in unfortunate situations whom you know nothing about.
        The real point here is that this little girl deserves better than the hand she was dealt. Your lack of compassion has me praying you never have children of your own. It takes love to raise a proper headstrong child that can grow her own food at four years old. Not money .

        • Annie, you must be proud of yourself for that rant about Vic. I think the government should take everything you have and give it to that little girl and her mother, if you can afford internet then you should be ashamed of not more properly spending that money. I mean after all that poor girl. Her severely disabled mother is raising her to be a farmer. It is your fault, maybe if you spent all your time and money helping those innocents they would pull their self up out of the cycle of free housing, clothing, food,and trips to the polling station. Just think of all the fertilizer that little girl could purchase if you just cancelled your internet service and took it to her home. I doubt you will and that just makes you a hypocrite because you are doing the same as everyone else NOTHING. But you just hide it behind your “compassion”.

        • The question I have is how does a four-year-old garden? I have known many four-year-olds up close, and none that I can recall have had a garden or even been of much help in the garden. Someone else, probably the disabled mother, is caring for the garden, and has hauled in her daughter to make her thwarted desire to garden more compelling. There’s no “structure” to most gardens (that’s what the govt is complaining about, I gather) – just plants. So it has to be a case of some sort of fence or shed or some other structure has been built that someone in charge deems unsafe or unsightly. It also appears that this garden is “within landscaped areas” — which means perhaps that normally this is an area that is mowed for neatness and security. One side of the story is told in the short article. In other words, the story is very one-sided. There is doubtless more to it. Why that more isn’t here, I don’t know, except, like the four-year-old instead of the mom being the gardener, it makes for a more compelling story.

          • I work at a certified organic seedling nursery & you’d be surprised at how many children have & tend to gardens. A lot of them learn about it at school, through community gardens, & through older family members. The point is, people should be able to produce their own organic food. One seed can produce food for years to come. If people could use their EBT to buy seeds to feed their families healthy, and cost-effective foods many children would not starve. It’s important for the younger generations to know self-sustaining skills like horticulture, sewing, cooking, and learning how to build things on their own.

          • Gust, you have never known a 4 year old with parents that would or could not provide them with the things they needed to survive. We tend to raise our children much more slowly these days at least out here in small town America where I am. I grew up in pretty rough and tumble from the age of 5. Without details I will tell you I was responsible for cooking, (yes on a stove, I don’t think we had an oven) taking care of my brother who was 18 months younger than me, cleaning, entertaining myself and him, and pretty much keeping my own head attached to my body while supplementing the meager supply of food in the home with the tomatoes, honey suckle, and occasional peaches that grew in our area of Oakland CA. All of this just to try to get you to understand that children are quick to learn what needs to be done and how to do it when it effects their survival. I feel for the girl and don’t know enough about this particular mother to judge her. it’s not my place to do so anyway.

          • A four year old can certainly garden with direction. What a wonderful life skill this child is learning! Not to mention the nutrition benefits of greens in the diet. The housing authority could put a raised bed garden at each unit for flowers or veggies. Don’t have to mow a garden and it would give each tenant a good feeling to make their home beautiful. We all need comfort in our homes. It doesn’t hurt me to provide a bit of my earnings to help others in need. I don’t believe the majority of people that have a difficult time in life are out to scam the rest of us. Educate the scammers with consequences and leave the rest alone. They don’t need the guilt trip some are putting on them. That just makes it harder to move out of poor situation. Statistics show that people don’t stay on welfare programs for a long period of time. But, there will always be some people tha t will need long term help – as does this disabled mom.

          • If what you are suggesting is correct, and it may be, that is still no reason to tell this family to tear out their garden right now. It’s close to the end of the growing season, so how about the govt officials show a bit of common sense, allowing the girl to complete the gardening year in peace, and to not place a garden there next year, but to find a more appropriate spot.

            I tend to think there is more here going on than meets the eye, you are right about that.

        • I had a neighbor whose 23 year old husband was killed in a car wreck and had only enough work credit to give them $342 a month in SSI. So they recieved aid while the mother went to busuness school and then
          she was working temp jobs while looking for a job to support them.

      • Gail Mom of 4 USArmy Soldiers August 25, 2013 at 2:19 pm

        You assume that she’s an unwed mother. But there are so many storied of women who are raped, and kept the child. Women who are widowed, and women who’s husbands left them, walked out of them and the child. (I’m not bashing men, I’m just bashing on the ones that abandon their wife and children.) So until we know the rest of the story, don’t judge.

      • Translation: “I know nothing about this woman, her life, or her history! But she’s on welfare, so let me make up a story that casts her in an unfavorable light!”

        The same folks who want to outlaw abortion scream bloody murder when the poor carry to term.

        • Huh? Your last sentence has no logic and NO truth behind it, and has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

      • Who said she had the child out of wedlock? Or that she was severely disabled at the time she had the child? Don’t make assumptions.

      • Vic,
        Who said the child was born out-of-wedlock? Awfully presumptuous of you isn’t it? We don’t know how or when this woman became disabled let alone single. Maybe her husband died in a car accident that left her disabled, maybe not. Whatever the cause, the fact remains that Americans (ALL Americans) should be allowed to grow their own vegetables if they choose to.

      • Let’s say that little girl was born out of wedlock. Does that make her any less of a human being because of it?

        The world would be better off without people like you, vic.

    • They come up with a creative way to provide for themselves when they have next to no money so they are told to stop. Sounds like the same government that gives handouts while telling people they are not allowed to save money, making them reliant on the handouts.

  2. These control freaks get everywhere – they get themselves into a position where they can bully the disadvantaged ‘cos they know if they come up against a person like me they’ll get short a short sharp instruction about what to do with themselves

    • Maybe you should write to Oprah, and ask her why this child can’t have a garden, and yet Oprah can have one, a huge one?

  3. Perfect – cover the patch with grass again so they can resume spraying toxic weed killer on it like they do in every neighborhood in the USA. I wonder if there are neighborhood associations mandating that?

  4. Most four year old children will not go near a garden much less work in it. This child is going places no matter what the elite want her to do. I wish the best for these people.

  5. Let’s be real here. This is not their property. Did they first get permission to plant this garden from the owners? (since they are renting) The owners of the apartment building may be using this as an excuse so that no one else does it either. Many landlords don’t want their property used as gardens, because it can be unsightly if it isn’t taken care of. I have a feeling there is more to this story than what is presented in this blog. HUD housing has specific rules it must follow. Plus, there is the actual owners of the property to take into account. It may not be just “evil” government that is doing this.

      • I don’t think the problem is with the USDA’s rule. The rule is a good one. I think the problem is the property manager’s interpretation of the rule. Consider this: What if it wasn’t a 4 year old girl with a garden? What if it was a 75 year old man who, after growing up in a rural area, is used to going potty in an outhouse? What if he decides to build an outhouse, right outside his back door, in a government subsidized housing project? That’s why the rule exists, to keep people from building all manner of things on common property that they do not own. The stupid property manager, who obviously can’t tell the difference between a “structure” and a 4 year old’s vegetable garden is the one to blame, not the government. If you notice, in the article, it’s not the USDA telling her to remove the garden, it’s the property manager.

        • The city has rules for health and safety reasons – no potty outside. Not a good comparison.

    • I agree with you Debbie, I understand its a garden and all but there are rules. One place I rented I couldn’t even use the back yard for my children because of the landlords dogs had exclusive use he said. Another time at a different apartment, the stroller was being wheeled over by the house and was told I couldn’t do that because of the grass that the first floor people just tended to.

    • I agree with Debbie
      I was on HUD for a few years. I read all the rules. I knew what was expected and allowed. Not everyone on assistance is good Many people would take a rule that allowed gardens to grow marajuana or just be negligent. It has to be equal for everyone. My friend in Hawaii had a room full of potted plants. They made him get rid of it because water in the pots created a weight issue. I was so sad for him. He actually loved those plants. But if everyone did that it would be a strain on the old building. So I wish the little girl could have a garden but HUD makes sure that everything is equal! If you are on assistance you know the rules. Maybe they could go to a community garden?

      • Debbie, Nancy, and Andrea are the good, obedient type who will round their children up on the cattle cars to the concentration camps because it is “the rules”. The sheeple have spoken.

        • Nonsense. It is someone else’s property. Last I knew whomever owns the property gets to say what the tenants do on it. You had better not ever be a renter or live in a community with a homeowners association since you can’t handle rules.

          • Property ownership in the USA is now a myth: have you heard of Imminent Domain? And your mortgage is owned by who again?

      • Ahh, every one should be equal in their misery. Lets let no innovation happen because the new way is an abyss. Equal for everyone! What a dismal view on life.. this is probably the same person that thinks art should be funded by overburdened taxpayers… yet art is innovative and Not equal. sheesh… everyone just go forth and be equal, and as dull as Andrea! holy crap

    • Lisa Marie Gibson August 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      I agree with Debbie. If I rent my home out or allow it to be a HUD home I would expect them to maintain the property but not to disturb or plant anything without permissions first. I have a garden and I know that a lot of the plants I have vine and can strangle the landscaped flowers and plants surrounding it and can be a bit of a nuisance if not kept under control. I would suggest planting the fruits in a pot or hanging baskets such as a topsey turvey. There are many ways to have indoor gardens or above ground gardens which will not disturb the land. :)

      • Landlords should be happy if their tenants want to do useful things with the land. Many landlords are either apathetic to the basic needs of their tenants, or else complete jerks. When landscaped flowers and shrubs become more important than a poor family feeding themselves, it’s time to consider that maybe this landlord is not a nice person. I lived in an apartment with LOADS of property, all of it maintained beautifully. They must have spent thousands of dollars on shrubs and trees, only to rip them out in a couple years and plant new ones, even though the originals were growing fine. Every summer, there was the incessant noise of lawn mowers, weed cutters, chain saws, etc. from early in the morning till sometimes 4 in the afternoon. What a waste of land. They should have paid the tenants to grow a community garden, instead. They would have saved money by letting other people grow stuff, and I guarantee it would have been taken care of better than worthless decorative bushes that have to be replaced every few years.

      • I’ve been a landlord. I allowed gardens. Interestingly, it was the whitebread, we are better than everyone, tenants that trashed the house and left unpaid rent.
        I had not one problem with my tenants growing vegetable gardens.
        But I do care about people, whereas many of the comments on here show that I am in the minority. Good to know.

    • Debbie, let’s be “real” here? “real” what? Real unempathetic assholes? It’s clear you work for the government or else you’re one of those asshole landlords. This child should be applauded for being self sustaining and creative and motivated and being outdoors, and it’s assholes like you that work for HUD or wherever it is you bend over for your paycheck. STFU you selfish, selfish judgmental bitch.

      • You might want to read your own response, blakmira. Your verbal abuse is not welcome. Talk about unempathetic.

      • Way to have a civil conversation. Sarah, this nonsense, plus the reply advocating shooting someone telling them not to garden, is this what you want on your blog?

      • Bitter much? Shall we all assume you are also on every assistance program known to man, as I’m sure Rosie’s “severely disabled” mother is? Disabled but not enough to create a child. I’m sorry, I worked for the system too long to buy the story at face value. I quit because the system sucks, and kids like Rosie get smacked around from every angle. Crappy parents, crappy system, crappy schools. Poor kid. Maybe if mama had picked a guy who might hang around, or I don’t know, provide a roof and a yard for little Rosie to garden in, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. The rule sucks too, but it’s in place because the vast majority of people who live in these housing types are too lazy to actually take care of anything they plant. Again, speaking from experience and homes I’ve seen with my own eyes. When people don’t have to work for their things, they don’t take care of them. Rosie may be the exception but the rules are in place for a legit reason. Again, poor kid. Crappy parents.

        • How do you know that she didn’t have her child BEFORE she became disabled? Do you have access to data that is not presented here? If so, pony that up. Post the data your used to make your assertions?
          I’ve also worked in the system and I have seen this kind of thing happen. You come off as a bitter and compassionless person. I do hope you are no longer working in “the system”.

        • So because some people might not take proper care of a garden no one should be allowed to grow food? So because one person might do something wrong everyone should be penalized. This is bureaucratic bullshit, and the reason this country is going to hell in a hand basket.

          There is no room or allowance for anything that deviates from a norm established by the bureaucracy. Again, this is bullshit.

          More rules. More regulations. Everyone must follow the rules. Everyone must be equal. Poor, deprived,malnourished, and filled with hopelessness, but equal. Bullshit!!!

          This kind of thinking is what is wrong with America.

          • There you go Melissa, you figured it out. NO RULES AT ALL. I wish it were that way now so I could see your face when people just show up on your land and do as they please. This is a simple case: She does not own this property. What Mom needs to do (according to you) is find a rich guy that will support her. Case closed. What are all the poor men out there to do though?
            Ah yes “this kind of thinking is what is wrong with America.

        • You obviously know their situation in full Melissa. No judgment in that comment at all. It’s funny to me that every person here that is backing this little girl are the same ones that hate her mother for being on disability. And somehow her mother is a bad person because she can’t find a man to take care of her? I guess women can’t provide for themselves. So you would be in her situation if not for the man you tricked into marrying you? Maybe you should let her grow her garden on your property since your so noble.

    • I knew it wouldn’t be long before some statist came along and wrangled themselves in to contortions to justify this crap.

    • I agree Debbie. For instance in our community they want to allow people to raise chickens in the city limits and it is a divided survey, there is more to the story then BIG Government not allowing these people some imagined freedoms they so want for raising chickens. The majority have never raised animals and a good part of them have never even raised children, so they have no background in care. Yet they want to just start raising chickens, and say that it is for self protection. I live in a rural area just outside town and we raise children, adopted animals and have chickens also, and its not an easy job. The amount of waste alone you have to deal with is massive. If they allow un trained people to raise chickens and the city is not prepared to deal with the waste, the rats and cats and rodents amore will over run the City.

      And another point, with the costs of a sizable pen to curtain in the chickens, plus food health care, poisons for the rats, a good large compost, in the end we break even and in the winter with heated water we loss money on the whole CHICKEN EGG thing…

      What I am getting at is this, I worked public service for years and witnessed the lack of care given to many activities started by those with good intentions, a garden draws more then vegetables, it draws fungus, bacteria, rodents, insect, deceased animals waste water and many other issues that can compromise the health of others. I am a master gardener and it takes more than planting a garden to grow a garden and for the most part a four year old is not growing a garden, like you said there is more to this story then a sweet defenseless four year and big government. Get this rule overturned and all will petition for the allowance of ponds to fish, grape vines for wine, compost pits for growth, chickens for food and in the end the housing authority will foot the bill to clean it up, which means tax dollars in the end. So waste if you want, but I rather would like to raise their standard of living and give that wasted tax money toward their education and raise them up and out of poverty… Fight the smart fight not the hard fight!

      • I don’t agree with a damned thing Debbie says. She is compassionless, she is judgmental and I wouldn’t let her slimy self in my house.
        So, Mr. Master Gardener, your experiences only apply to you. They are what we, in science, call anecdotal evidence, just like Debbie’s overt hatred of the poor.
        That is NOT evidence. That is opinion. In science, we gather data, we do experiments, and we try to disprove our own hypothesis. We NEVER rely on anecdotal evidence. EVER.

        • You don’t know me at all. There are no real facts in this article. Come on. Do you actually think a 4 year old girl, dug that ground out? Went to the store and bought those plants by herself? She is doing that whole thing completely by herself? This whole story is to get a knee jerk reaction, and it was successful in doing that. The big evil government is picking on a innocent 4 year old. Nonsense. The people that own the property said her mother, and yes, her mother, as she is the adult that signed the lease, couldn’t have a garden.
          This has absolutely nothing to do with being rich or poor. This story could have well been about a multimillion dollar house, that was in a homeowners association complaining about it.
          People here are saying that it isn’t up to the owner of the property what happens to it. Wow. Some adults here.
          I do not hate the poor. If she wanted some plants put them in a pot on her patio. That is fine. Ask permission first to have it to have a garden. Then none of this would have happened.
          The vitriol on this board is amazing, and apparently just what Sarah wants. This isn’t helping anyone. But, the dog whistles were called, and it appears they howl on cue.

          • I don’t care if a 50-year-old man dug that garden, bought those plants and planted them. It doesn’t matter WHO planted that garden. The ability to grow food and feed oneself should be a right in this country. Just because someone, anyone, the nebulous “someone” might not do it right, it could turn out badly, those people who want to have chickens might not do it perfectly, there might be some noise or odor or mishaps, then NO ONE should be allowed, ALLOWED, to have chickens or grown their own food or whatever. Again, this is wrong thinking. This is bureaucratic, I need the government or someone else to tell me what I can do or cannot do because I am not capable of making my own decisions and the occassional mistake that could inconvenience my neighbor. It might not be a perfect world, but there would be HOPE. These people have no control over any aspect of their lives. They want to grow tomatoes or peppers or something that GASP vines and threatens that perfectly landscaped shrub, so it should be against the rules??? This kind of thinking is the so very dangerous.

          • There is a lot of information missing in this article. The picture is pretty tightly cropped. I can’t know what the overall situation is, but I am imagining a multi-apartment building with a minimal area of grass and “landscaped areas” between the parking and the doors.

            Without enforced rules, the quality of life for everyone living there would likely become very diminished. This person feels it is OK to use the space for a garden (sure, sounds nice to me). Someone else would feel it’s ok to use the space for a bike rack so residents can bike to work instead of needing a car (sounds nice to me). Someone might want to set up a play yard so their toddler can get some fresh air. Someone might want to build a shelter for stray cats, so they won’t freeze in the winter.

            Any of those things could be the subject of this exact same article. BUT, they CANNOT all co-exist in the 30 square feet of land that 6 households walk through every day to get into their home. (Not to mention the neutral or negative things people might like to do in that space)

            It is not about rich or poor, it is about the logistics of densely packed living. To avoid arguments between residents, to avoid unsafe conditions, to avoid damage to the owners’ property, and to avoid escalating arguments between residents – there simply HAVE TO BE rules, which have to be enforced.

            Sure, one little garden doesn’t sound like a problem, but it could easily turn into one – even without anyone else attempting to use the shared space for their own preferred projects.

          • Michele so a property owner has no rights to their property ? OK, I’m coming to your house and I’m going to turn your entire yard into my personal garden. You shouldn’t have any objection based on your logic.
            There a lot of holes in this story and the fact that you choose to gloss over them says all there is to say about you.
            Oh, and saying she should be able to do what she wants with someone else’s property has a certain stench to it.

          • People want to think well of themselves so they often enthusiastically support downtrodden, which is, I am guessing, the source of the support we find in many of these posts. However, put them in the position of having to make decisions about THEIR property and THEIR rights as owners, and you will see all kinds of constraints. I know this from personal experience. One HOA I know of required that people use only neutral colored trash cans (brown, gray or green) and set them out for pick up after sunset. And that was only the beginning of the regulations. The further people are from a situation like this one, the more likely they are to be “tolerant” in their reactions. I suspect that many of these kindly posters would sing a different tune if this lady and her little girl and their garden were next door.

        • You are amusing. You shoot down one person’s story because it is “anecdotal evidence” in your indignation about a story that itself is “anecdotal evidence”. So, what science exactly are you actually relying on to fuel the anger you are directing against those who have differing viewpoints from yours? (We do acknowledge that all those who think differently than you are clearly incorrect and incapable of thinking for themselves.)

    • I’m guessing the rule against having a food garden in or near “landscaping” is because HUD uses extremely toxic chemicals to maintain the area. If so, it makes sense as a safety precaution…

      • Yes – and they need not be “extremely toxic chemicals”, just products which have not been 100% proven to be 100% safe to be used around plants intended for human consumption. HUD and the Property owner and the property management company would be at risk of lawsuit throughout this child’s lifetime – for the maintenance they do/don’t do to that area, AND for whatever they might “have allowed” other residents to do to the area. (Pour out leftover mop water, pour out left-over turpentine, they can’t know, but would still be at risk because it had been allowed to happen on their property).

    • Google: GUERRILLA GARDENING and learn that planting FREE WIKI-TREES, VEGES… could feed the entire humanity FOR FREE without GMO, pestices, harmful additifs…
      Our actual economic system creates SCARCITY BY DESIGN – surproduction is thrown in the Ocean for to keep prices as high as possible; farmers are paid for NOT to produce; at the end of the day, food is thrown and NOT gifted… because THE ENTIRE SYSTEM IS BASED ON PROFIT
      Now – only FREE STUFF can destroy this satanic system
      Use LINUX, UBUNTU (free software to find on Internet) = no viruses, no danger…= you can bring their corporations down
      CREATE & SHARE as much as you can
      GO RAW VEGAN= secret of perfect health and extraordinary longevity FOR FREE = you can bring their pharmaceutical industry down too

      • I agree: RAW VEGAN is the way. It is a secret to perfect health. Not too many realize that. Anything that would encourage gardening by children is a way to move in that direction. Let’s do this thing!!!

    • I’ve lived in subsidized housing in the past…even a poorly attended garden probably would have been better landscaping. I’ve always thought the “Rules are rules” attitude was ridiculous. I’m even a rule follower haha If a rule makes no sense, it’s made to be broken!

    • O.K. so .. Can mother teach her to container garden in their living space? Yes it isn’t cost free, one must use some kind of container for the veggies and potting soil and so on BUT it could be possible… While I agree it is soooo unfair for this company to take the garden away from this industrious young lady it could also be turned into a learning process. And, container gardening can be done all year long,,

    • I live in a senior/disabled apartment complex. I’m on Hud and many of us are. We asked for, and got a community garden and many grow veggies in their own flowerbeds. I grow tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and herbs in containers on may porch. By the way, basil and marigolds deter mosquitos.

  6. I agree with Debbie. I lived in subsidized housing as a kid and they had pretty strict rules about the outside areas. Do I agree with these rules in Rosie’s case? Of course not. And I think it would be worthwhile to contact the USDA department handling this issue and ask them to reconsider. Good luck, Rosie! :-)

  7. We have subsidized housing in our town and there are a number of people that have potted tomatoes and other vegetables. Maybe if they were in movable container, that would make a difference.

    • Great Idea! I’d be willing to donate pots of various sizes for Rosie to plant her veggies in, assuming that isn’t forbidden as well.

  8. Pingback: 4 Year Old Girl’s Vegetable Garden Must Go, Says USDA | Grow In Grace Farm

  9. Rules need to be reconsidered when they block those who are willing to work for a solution. Especially a young child who didn’t choose to be in her situation. Rules or not, what kind of people does our society want to encourage? This kind of thinking needs to change. Here’s a video about another person who is making a positive difference in his community, not just for him, but for anyone who walks by and needs fresh food.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_guerilla_gardener_in_south_central_la.html

    This could be an amazing opportunity for more people to get involved with something good and stay out of trouble. It’s worked beautifully in other communities…until it was shut down…even after the poor community raised millions of dollars to try to keep it. This is the disease formula for society. It’s more important to sit around and produce nothing and look pretty, than to put in some effort and produce sustainance.

  10. I added an extra paragraph for good measure…
    “I have visited your lovely state many times and I am shocked at this ridiculous and pointlessly bureaucratic attitude that puts an unvetted “rule” above a person’s meager efforts to support themselves and their health through a small garden. This attitude is how we have arrived at such a perilous time in our country. It is shameful and instead of hiding behind “rules”, you and others in the agency should be advocating for people like this. Where is your humanity and is this what you wanted to be when you grew up? It’s time to wake up and help the people, not isolate them forever as being dependent on the state.”

    Just my opinion.

  11. Perhaps what they are objecting to is the boards surrounding the raised bed and between the rows. I would say first everyone take a deep breath and get out of attack mode for just a moment and find out the nature of the objection with a calm, honest talk with the super. You probably don’twant those boards in there anyway unless you are *absolutely sure* they were not treated with arsenic. The just build up those beds with as much soil and compost as you can and plant herbs on the sides to keep their integrity. It’s called French Intensive gardening. Good luck.

  12. Don’t work around the rules, object and refuse the rules. Wake up and start doing your duty as a nation. When your government is no longer working for you, but against you, it is your duty to turn it over and get a new one. It’s your freedom you’re “selling” for “security”. Weigh your decision carefully…

  13. Just curious, this article says “forbids residents to have structures of any kind within landscaped areas.” Doesn’t this mean that the problem is a structure in the garden rather than the garden itself? If so, can she remove, maybe a tomato support, and continue to garden?

  14. The USDA actually DOES encourage this. They even issue grants to help people build community gardens with a preference on low-income, food-insecure areas (Source: “People’s Garden Program”) The US Dept of AGRICULTURE is not against gardens, people!

    But as pointed out before me, the USDA had basically nothing to do with this anyway. Petition the local private management company if anything (hiding the names and location is probably a good idea but does make the story less credible and also means the USDA can’t follow up internally) but I suspect there’s more to this story of a 4-year old girl digging up landscaping without permission in a rent-controlled apartment building. If I was the USDA and got this letter, I’d say “WTH are they talking about?” and move on.

    • The USDA is a friend of Big Ag and most certainly a foe of private gardens. This situation does not surprise me in the least.

  15. My answer to this sort of intrusion would be insurrectionist and probably fail in the long run but give pause to these functionaries who are simply “following orders” like Albert Speer. I hesitate to write the words that would echo an answer from the NRA or either the Tea Party, bot of which I generally eschew.

    • A better solution that is more in keeping with living in a democratically run nation would be to start recruiting and then electing better people. Clearly the continued election of millionaires and multi-millionaires and even in some cases, billionaires, is no longer serving the citizens well. We have many very qualified people from within our own ranks in the various fields and occupations who could do quite well and enact more sensible rules that fit the needs of our society as it is today.

      • It doesn’t sound like anyone elected has anything to do with this. there are a million bureaucrats that get to make rules that no one voted for. That is more of the issue here.

  16. What is the USDA’s Rural Development Agency definition of landscape, landscaping and structures within landscape? Aren’t pathways/walkways, retaining walls and trestles used in landscaping? Who exactly owns the “property”? I bet it is a private company, not the government, actually owns the property and is leasing the “units” to the state (not federal government). Is it located in a common use area?

    • The way to handle this, is ignore the USDA and get a gun. If anyone tries to damage the garden, shoot them. We are at war. It’s you and your garden vs. some random gorilla thugs.

      • No, nothing like Cambodia under the Kmer Rouge and what you are suggesting is actually in violation of several laws, state and federal. You suggesting such things is incredibly irresponsible and not well thought out. Other measures to change these rules have not even been attempted and yet your first instinct is to call for violence. You are not a well individual.

        • When the government tells you that you can’t grow food on your own land, it’s no longer America. We all have the right to use lethal force to defend ourselves, our family, and our property. This goes from the thug trying to break into your house, to the creep trying to rape your daughter, or the government trying to “shut down” your garden. Just because they work for the government, doesn’t mean that they are free from thought, free from morals and free from crimes.

          Everything that happened in Nazi Germany was legal. It was legal to confiscate firearms, to control people, to round up Jews, and to put them to death. We’re headed that same way. When someone comes to confiscate your firearms, you kill them. When someone tries to shut down your garden, you kill them.

          We are not free because of bureaucratic pencil pushers. We are free because of some of the bravest and smartest men in history. They were not sissies. They were shooting Brits over a 5% tax. They would not stand for this. These crimes against Americans will continue, unless we all take a stand, and use lethal force. Government “workers” need to start losing their lives.

          • She’s not “growing food on her own land”, she’s growing it on someone else’s land. The “someone else” said she had to stop. The government refused to force the property owner to let her grow food on their land.

            The action you advocate–the government forcing the property owner to let a preferred class of people use their property, essentially robbing them of it–is much more in tune with the Nazis than what is actually happening.

            Anyway, if you don’t like the rules for living in gov’t-paid housing, don’t live in gov’t-paid housing. There’s your freedom.

  17. I would like to gently point out that they are already on government assistance, living in a subsidized area…there is going to be even more government control. I am not so sure the tea party would be rattled over this.

    • This Liber~TEA minded person is saying this is ridiculous. I wonder if you would go GENTLY into the chambers… u know which ones i mean. 6hundred and change each month and a few little bits of lettuce? seriously, you liberal lunatics are the most cruel and evil people i encounter. Assistance for the needy is the American way, but God forbid one of those being assisted tries to help themselves… you people come in and slap their hands and say, no no, you may not do for yourself. You and those like you make sure no one wanders off the plantation.

  18. I experienced this, in a different way. My fiance and I both lost our jobs within months of having our son. I applied for food stamps and TANF. We couldn’t get the TANF bc our son isn’t vaccinated.

  19. The USDA is a federal bureaucracy whose number one goal is to ensure its survival by keeping people dependent upon government. Everything they do has this goal in mind. just like every gov agency. They spend their whole budget, whether its needed or not, just so they can say they are at capacity, and everyone keeps their jobs. Our government is really sick people. How many times do we have to show you that government is NOT the answer. Just ask a native american about the USDA. Thomas Jefferson said not to let govt get too big. George Washington said, Do not let the gov borrow money. We have done nothing but move towards a socialist state and away from our founding fathers. The most genius trick ever pulled, was allowing the GOP to be overtaken with lunatics. now, we are at the mercy of the socialists who disguise themselves as liberals. just because they are “progay” and “prochoice” meanwhile they take your rights away and the youth seems blind to it. most criminals are liberal voters. wake up people.

    • Sorry, but this is nonsense. And allowing the GOP to be taken over by lunatics now makes us at the mercy of socialists? What ever are you on about? Let me insert some facts for relevance. It is actually every single red, conservative state except Texas that for decades in a row now, has been subsidized and by all but 4 of the blue, liberal states. Each of the red states (except Texas, which is at break even), gets back far more each year than it contributes in taxes to the federal government. Case in point…Mississippi gets back $2.12 for every $1.00 it contributes in taxes. That is welfare. Those are subsidies. That is socialism. Blue states (all but 4 currently) pay far more each year in taxes than they get back from the federal government. Case in point…Nevada gets back a mere 65 cents for every $1.00 it pays in taxes. Connecticut gets back 62 cents for every $1.00 it pays in taxes.

      It is red conservative states governed by Republicans going back decades (long before the lunatics of the right took over) that overwhelmingly and disproportionately benefit from government largesse…or socialism, as you will.

    • And it’s not about being “pro-gay” or “pro-choice”; it’s about being anti-discrimination (which, by the way, is unconstitutional).

    • And on the matter of “most criminals are liberal voters”, you need to support your assertion with some empirical evidence. That’s how that works unless you want to be dismissed as an irrelevant, inflammatory fool. Allow me to provide you with an example. Per the FBI and CDC’s yearly reports that analyze data collected nationally and calculate statistical measurements of crime in the U.S.:

      The list of top 10 cities with highest rates of gun crime/violence/homicide per capita in the U.S. do not include Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco…all liberal hotbeds full of Democrats. The list does include Memphis, Kansas City, St. Louis, Baltimore, Richmond, Jacksonville, New Orleans. Not the liberal, Democratic cities you’re searching for. In terms of states, the states with the highest rates per capita of gun crime/violence/homicide/suicide are the states with the most lax gun laws, those in the southeast and Texas and Arizona. It isn’t Illinois or California or New York or Massachusetts. These are statistics are also compiled from data collected each year and published by the John Jay School of Criminal Justice.

      The nation has a problem with crime and gun-related violence. It is not a black or white thing and certainly not a left vs. right thing. But if you insist on trying to make it a partisan issue, then the empirical evidence I have submitted and which can be verified by anyone with any intellectual curiosity, shows that the problems lie primarily in conservatively governed states and cities.

      • mck I want some of what your drinking, To be that far into lala land has got to be a unique experience. Chicago and WaDC are the two most lethal cities in the country, and that’s taken from the exact same source that your claiming to use, maybe you should go back and re-read the research.

        • …Your link proves MKC’s point, not yours. The list in your link does NOT include Chicago OR DC (which wasn’t even mentioned until you). It DOES however contain 4 of the 7 MKC mentioned. I suggest you “re-read the research.”

          • I don’t care about links and city clarification. I live in New Orleans and it is the most Democrat filled city outside of my hometown, Boston. The cities mentioned might be in red states but the actual cities are very blue.

            That said, I’m not sure any of this has to do with the federal government, which is the real problem. States have lost control to the Feds over almost every single topic and this is not what America was supposed to be about.

  20. What you really have is a local administrator not using commonsense. But, let’s be blunt, limiting someone,who is renting an apartment, from gardening on common space–protperty that is not her’s– is hardly an attack on basic freedoms.

  21. Sounds to me like the property management company is using the USDA as an excuse. The USDA has better things to do than target a kid’s garden. They are already strapped and understaffed. Unless someone really makes a stink, they are not going to come out and hunt them down for a garden. Now, building of structures, it sounds more like the property management co is using this which applies more to buildings and such than gardens (like subdividing govt funded housing to fit in more, etc) so they can get rid of the garden and not look like the bad guys.

  22. I wonder if gardening in pots would be an issue many landscapers and nurseries would be happy to donate the soil and pots for her to use contact me via e-mail and I will arrange it

  23. My Facebook post, as well as my email to Elsie:

    Gawd, I swear, stuff like this makes me more and more disgusted every day by “The Government” and hoping that all governments would just be murdered off already, so that everybody else can live in the natural ways we ALL (EVERY ETHNICITY) once used to, without those greedy fucks involving themselves, with all their threats, fines, etc… Go to hell already, all you government pieces of shit. And STOP FORCING people to depend on you!

    This is MY ancestor’s homeland! Drop pulling that old European control here already! If you actually think about it, you’d be so much happier and have much more peace if you left people like us (who are more self sufficient, grow our own stuff, etc…) alone. I actually curse you and anyone else involved in your type of mindframe. May karma hit you many times over.

  24. wait wait doesn’t the white house promote gardening … hasn’t a garden been planted there .. isn’t that “FREE LIVING” and not subsidized … wow ..

    • Really, it’s very disingenuous and dishonest to try to make this about Obama. I realize that some people lack impulse control and maturity but do try to stay on topic, m’kay?

      • MK==OH GOOD GRIEF! The little girl probabally got the idea from the First Lady who is promoting good healthy eating so yes I would point fingers all the way to the top. Get off your Obama loving wagon—and stop drinking the fool-aid the man is pissing to eveyone! We all know he is a liar, a man of hope and change into a world of socialist and trying to make America the “NEW Communist Nation” It aint happening. This is not the time nor place I want to argue the Ewbama issue.

      • This is related to Obama, there is no way around it. Thanks to him, a president can now seize anyone’s personal garden or livestock. I wonder if all the commenters who promote following the rules will let their personal food be taken away without a fight.

  25. How much more has to happen before people open their eyes & sees what is going on in this country. We are methodically becoming a “communist” country. Not “socialist”, but communist. For those who don’t believe that, then go back & study your history how communism first started. Soooo many things that is going on in this country right now is exactly what went on in Russia. The denial of growing your food, high prices to buy it, our leaders telling us what we can eat & how much, i.e. size of sodas is only 1 example. Michelle Obama wanting to force restaurants to serve less portions of food, etc. You can even “google” it. The ONLY thing I can agree with is removing the junk food machines in the schools. THAT should NEVER have happened. If the schools wanted to raise a little extra cash, they could have used healthier snacks that are appealing such as fruit.

    It pains me to say that Obama IS the worst President we’ve ever had because of the way he’s destroying our country. He has never hidden his agenda. He has always be truthful about that, but people only want to interpret his statements as good things. One of his key statements that he has used since he began campaigning is that he wants to “fundamentally change” America. For me, that has always meant just 1 thing. Abolishing the Constitution just for a start. He has mentioned several times that he believes in a One World Order. He also talks about “spreading the wealth”. That’s communism.

    Anyway, I could go on, but I won’t. I urge everyone to really pay attention to what he’s saying. Research the history & beginnings of “communism”. Think about, make note of and research those he associates with, has appointed to his staff etc.

    One last thought. I’m not blaming Obama alone. Yes, he’s the strongest & “pushiest” President we’ve ever had. The door was already opened for him. I can probably say that all of our Presidents in the past several years, both democrat & republican have done this country harm in some way. Maybe in their own mind they felt they were doing the right thing, but they didn’t. There is so much that “we the people” have no idea what has been going on.

    • Oh please. Step away from the Faux News and Rush. You are clearly affected by their delusions. If anything, Obama is a loser because there’s a D after his name and he keeps capitulating to Republicans. I’ll bet you like his drones.

    • I don’t understand why those of you crying about the government turning communist are also taking the side of this girl and her garden. This property doesn’t belong to this mother and child and yet you want to take it away from the rightful (the one who paid for it) owner and give it to this family to use. If she doesn’t like it she should MOVE.

      • Exactly.
        I think the problem here is in the way the article was constructed. The headline and first paragraph do not mention that the garden was created by a renter in the “common area” of an apartment complex, and points to the USDA as the rule creator/enforcer rather than the owner of the complex.

        The exact same story would get the exact same people upset if the headline were “HUD Recipients Mis-using Common Area in Subsidized Housing Complex”, and the first paragraph pointed out “believing you can do what you want, on land that belongs to a hard-working American, is akin to Communism”

    • SWAT, these days, are part of the instrument of federal tyranny. They are training to take away guns.

      This is a job for the U.S. Army, the greatest liberators of all time!

      How about the 10th Mountain Division?!

      • Prior comment was “tounge and cheek”, not meant to be taken literally!

        Actually, the only resources that may need to be dedicated to this are:

        (1) re-allocation of spending on pesticides/herbicides (if any) to spending on water for vegetable gardening.

        (2) a phone call from the top to clarify that vegetable gardening is allowed on these lands, as long as they are well maintained.

  26. The only reason I can think of to limit gardening in a landscaped area is a concern for the safety of the vegetables if there are harmful pesticides and the like used in the maintenance in the area. Could that be the rationale?

    • Well, there could also be an issue with water usage.

      I would think that housing projects probably don’t spend any money on pesticides.

      If they do, then we should alter the budget. Instead of pesticides, they should spend money on water for vegetables, instead.

  27. YOUR LETTER IS FAR TOO KIND – HAVE A LOOK AT MINE!

    Dear Director Meeks,

    It is draconian “rules” decreed by bureaucrats, unelected political cronies who think they own the citizens they work for give the government agencies a bad name.
    Others have asked, implored for reason but they do not understand “The Nature of the Beast”.
    I will be contacting my Senators asking they to cut your budget.
    In this time of sequestration this should be an easy sell; perhaps they can eliminate your entire division.
    Cutting your budget and uncontrolled, unchecked arbitrary power is the only think megalomaniacs in office understand.

    Sincerely,
    R Keith Beal

    • MR Beal! You have my permission to submit my name on that same level! I too agree with you and will write the senator and congressman as well. I think these Bureaucrats need to learn a good lesson and hitting them where their wallet is is a good idea. I am going to write it as soon as I finish with this post. I hope they are happy they picked on a disabled mother and a four year old trying to subsidize their own level of living. This is shame a real shame that we have to even have to go though this process. Thank you Mr. Beal and good luck!

  28. I want the names of EVERYONE involved in this. The housing Development, The Government officials, and the such, I want to SUE the hell out of them. There is no rhyme or reason this little girl or anyone else in the development using the land outside of the home they live in to grow food. These bureaucratic gangbusters want to do everything to make life hard one EVERYONE! I would ask the little girl to Dare them to take it down and refuse to take it down herself. The garden is only helping not harming and gives her something to do during the summer months. These are obvious people that are jealous and have nothing more to do with their lives but to pick on a little girl and her disabled mother. The Fed has GONE WAY WAY over board, and the housing authority has crossed that same line. This is a FREE Country and we dont need all these stupid rules. In this case I see this as just wrong! Totally Wrong and I want to sue these people for their evil ways!

  29. I would just like to point out that in the former Soviet Union (Communist Russia, as you called it), almost every household had kitchen gardens in their yards to supplement their food rations that were provided by the government, and not only was this legal, it was encouraged. This included apartment buildings. And all housing was owned by the government and assigned to citizens. If they had not already had a thriving garden culture, half the population would have starved to death in the first few years after the fall of communism. (source: Dmitry Orlov’s book, Reinventing Collapse)

    • You need to clarify that this book is written about events in the 1980s and 90s and Communist Russia’s history begins much earlier. Absolutely from the beginnings of communism to near the collapse it was ILLEGAL to grow your own food. Anything grown belonged to the state. The people themselves belonged to the state! Your children were not your own but belonged to the state! People were forced off their own property and then ordered to cultivate a small share to provide for the collective. Many people held back their harvest and kept some for themselves, a dangerous practice should anyone notice and report you.
      Then there were the mass starvations, as seen with the Ukrainians where millions of people starved to death. There was inflation that made foods expensive and careful rationing by the government where store shelves were often empty. (source: numerous eyewitness accounts from fortunate people who survived and escaped.)

  30. Having been an Assistant Property Manager at an apartment complex for 12 years, I know that the reason sounds a bit harsh, but Rosie and her mother should have asked permission before planting. I think that a reasonable solution should be that the owners give permission to set aside a small area for a ‘community garden’ and any residents who wish to plant there may by simply registering themselves and their section and receiving a free garden pass. If a resident does not tend properly to maintain a clean and organized garden, then they will simply lose their community garden pass. I had trouble with a tenant who dug down in between the walkway railings and the hedges of the front of the building and planted potatoes. This actually resulted in the hedges in only that one area to turn yellow and die. We also had trouble with them planting mango trees in the back of the property which we ended up having to remove because the roots began to break up the parking lot since they were planted too close to the spaces. Remember these are professional companies there to make money in exchange for services provided. If the permission is not in the contract, renters are not allowed to do whatever they please. I hope this CAN be worked out with the community. Having just harvested our first crop of corn, beans and tomatoes this year on our own property, it is a great tool for children (and adults alike) to have. I wish the best to all parties involved.

  31. Interesting that one of the things you’re supposed to be able to buy with welfare money is bedding plants. =o/

  32. Petitioning the federal government isn’t going to do jack spit. Save your energy and put it toward parenting your children better so that they don’t grow up to become assholes in suits who shut down the gardens of little girls.

  33. “where people weren’t allowed to grow their own food unless the State “allowed” it”

    …this is just lie … you are no less ignorant than any other American… no wonder your so called “freedom” is getting taken away …

  34. “The Federal bureaucracy seems to think that it owns those individuals who receive any sort of government assistance and that their behavior is completely within its jurisdiction to control no matter how ridiculous or blatantly un-American the power-tripping “rules” they decide to put in place may be.”

    It’s interesting how they control a 4 year old girl for growing vegetables, yet don’t do anything to those who trade their food stamps for money to buy outrageous things like designer bags, drugs, acrylic nails (which, by the way, I can’t have because as a working person paying for their “subsidies”, I can’t afford!). Where is the bullying on those types of outrages??!!

  35. Pingback: 4 Year Old Girl’s Vegetable Garden Must Go, Says USDA | Battle For Justice.com

  36. Another way to help: those who have non “landscaped areas” (their homes) to allow Rosie and others to grow directly on their properties. We need to get back to sharing the food burden. If we all grow a garden, and let those who can’t have gardens work with us, we can change EVERYTHING!

    • Promotion of self-reliance through gardening is exactly what the founders meant when they wrote, “promotion of the general welfare” in the Constitution.

      There is an important difference between “promoting the general welfare” and “providing for the common defence.”

      Promotion is “talking it up” or “encouraging”.

      “Providing for” is actually delivering the goods and services.

      We should be doing everything we can to “promote” self reliance through gardening.

  37. A plant is a plant, within greenspace or landscaping. It is not a structure. The person requesting the removal is misapplying the regulation due to misunderstanding. The FDA is not making the graden disappear, it is the property managment company.

  38. Great article, totally agree that our government is totally screwed up and we need to do something about it. I just wanted to point out a factual mistake, the Boston Tea Party was not the first act of rebellion against the British, in fact the first act of revolt was almost a full year prior to that. It happened in Warwick, RI and a group of men overtook a ship called the Gaspee and took the soldiers and captain off the ship and burned it and sank it. There was shots fired upon the British and it was true battle.

  39. Gardening in housing projects could be a big positive for families like Elsie. The food production, of course, helps the budget; but there are all kinds of other spin-off benefits. Exercise, community involvement, and learning the value of work.

  40. My first though on this was “Why did they let the garden grow all summer long just to have it removed at harvest time.” Then I thought perhaps her climate in South Dakota is cold and may have a fairly short growing season. I live in a cold climate and plant near the end of May and have been harvesting for at least 2 months now. We will be getting frost soon. I don’t agree with just tearing up a 4 year old’s garden, but perhaps they waited until now in order for her to harvest most of the summer. I’m hoping she and her mother will seek out permission and find out the limits of what they will be able to do next year. Please people, take a deep breath and think before you fly off the handle. Remember you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

  41. Your article loses credibility with this line: “laced with rancid vegetable oils and GMOs!”
    Formula is not and never has been ‘laced with GMOs’ and I’m pretty sure there are strict controls in place to ensure fresh ingredients are used.

    I believe that people should be able to make sensible food choices that suit their needs, but making incorrect statements in articles like this isn’t helpful.

  42. Container gardening works well in confined spaces. If she has access to a patio or balcony this could be a solution..

  43. Anytime the government gives you something there are always rules. What the government gives the government can take away. We need to shrink government, domestic, foreign aid, military, etc.

  44. Just that you know I grow up in sowjet Russia and people always had gardens and didn’t need permissions from the government. We got a big piece of land to grow our own food. We just could not own the land, that is it (maybe this is ask for permission, but actually this was a right to have a garden) This kind of regulations now all around the western world about gardening and what seeds I am allowed to use is worst than what we had in sowjet Russia. Without garden we almost could not survive, because we didn’t have everything to buy at the store. Only people in big city’s could buy more food, but only because people from country sold what they had grown on farmers markets and the government sold their food.

  45. Again stupid people who have nothing better to do but to make others suffer….Tired of Government sticking their nose in to peoples business…Let the poor girl have her little garden!!!

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  47. My prayers are with this child and her mother. They are trying to help themselves by growing healthy foods. It sounds like someone who is too lazy to garden has complained. Why not get the whole complex involved and those who participate can share in the work and the wonderfully healthy foods?

  48. Not only should it be allowed, it should be required by all living in subsidized housing, rural and cities. Turn those yards and/or court yards into gardens. They usually all have a designated play area, leave that and garden the rest. There may not be huge areas for gardening but a bunch of small ones will work just as good. Cut the monetary amount they receive in food stamps, and if they refuse to participate in the gardening cut it 100%. I realize not everyone is able to garden due to disability, age, or other circumstance, just as in this article, the mom is severely disabled, but the daughter isn’t and she took it upon herself to do this. Even the youngest of children can do something in a garden! This is just another example of government wanting everyone completely dependent. Here we have a young child wanting to work and the government stops it tsk tsk tsk.

  49. i suggest we write to Mrs Obama who grows and advocates growing veggies in home & community gardens. Maybe she will find a way to have someone intervene & get rid of this nonsensical rule. It’s truly unbelievable!!

  50. I agree a small garden shouldn’t be a issue.. I do understand the reasoning. They do not allow this because most areas such as where they are living are maintained by pest control and landscape companies and the possibility of accidental poisoning is high.. These could be very different head lines. They could read ” Disabled mother and small 4yr old child poisoned by their own garden” The story would then go on to tell how the garden was effected by pest control agents poisoning the mother and child unknowingly. Then everyone would be screaming why weren’t they warned. It’s a Loose Loose situation anyway you look at it but least they are alive this way..

  51. you are a load of pathetic tossers,where are the people who made america great, you let the lawers treat you like shit, you are no better than the communists you were brought up to hate. get real for gods sake, this is a garden,you are not drilling for oil !!!!!!!!

  52. hey folks, before everyone jumps on the “government is the enemy” bandwagon, is it at all understandable that the landlord is allowed to make the rules and that since they live in a government owned and subsidized housing project the landlord is the government? more importantly, instead of focusing on the fact that the girl isn’t allowed to dig up the property to plant whatever she’s planting (whether we think that’s worthwhile or not) we should remember that without the government’s assistance this little girl and her severely disabled mom would be homeless and broke.

    if you want to look at oppressive government, you should all read the news coming out of syria, egypt, china, and any number of countries whose citizens must fear for there lives and/or have nearly no basic rights.

  53. Unfortunately this is nothing new OR unusual. The restrictions on what can be done in/to subsidized housing has ALWAYS been ridiculously narrow. I do believe this is all written out in their guidelines when people are placed. I have always thought that many of these rules are stupid and counterproductive. I just want to make it clear that this is not evidence of government taking away MORE freedoms. This is old news that has needed changing for a long time.

  54. NoMonsantoinBoulderCountyGovernment August 24, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    This story needs to be followed up.

    This I do know. . .

    Now if an oil and gas company were fracking on this property next to the house, there would be no problem (with the government).

    The USDA is all but useless.

  55. So, saw idiots such as Michael husband, making comments about comments that say hey, isn’t Russia’s fault that was a bad comparison, So loser, I’ve a dozen ascendants who started and fought in the American Revolution and made it great, I myself, was U.S. Calvary Officer, and made huge improvements on America’s military research. What is a little shit like you telling real people that they ought to consider me? What did a little sawed off like you ever do besides bleat american?

  56. I can’t believe the vitriol in some of these responses and even in the article. I have to take this article with a grain of salt there there are no references given for the information. The only things that come up in a Google search are numerous far right wing sites and blogs quoting Sarah’s article.

    Before retirement, I worked for ten years at a local housing authority. We followed HUD rules and regulations and used federal monies to assist low income people with their rent. However, HUD (Housing and Urban Development) did not get involved in our every day business and only audited us once a year. All of our tenants in public housing units had private patio areas or balconies and could plant whatever they wanted in their space but not in the common areas. Our high-rise building even had built in planters on the balconies where many tenants grew flowers and vegetables. The Housing Authority owned several houses and many of the tenants in those units took advantage of the space to raise gardens. Units in the private market that were subsidized by the Section 8 program were subject to the rules set by the property owner/manager. Those rules were the same for private pay tenants and for subsidized tenants.

    I am beginning to think that the positive information that I get from The Healthy Home Economics is not worth also getting this kind of garbage.

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist August 24, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      Hi Velta, To protect their identities, Rosie and Mary’s real names or exact location in South Dakota are not being disclosed. If you would like to further verify the validity of this very real story, contact Kitchen Gardeners International director, Roger Doiron, roger@kgi.org)

    • Thank you for asking the same questions I did. I wonder, did they ask questions, such as can we plant this here? If not where can we plant a garden? I understand not wanting to hurt the family more, other than saying they are from SD, I think that there is more to this story than meets the eye. I found this article from a friend who was outraged that the girl was not allowed to have her garden, but we only have part of the story. Can you please quote the exact area that the USDA is using for this issue? Can you quote what structure is concerned in this matter (the only thing in the small picture is the pallet. At least please to not leave only 1 side of the story.

      I do appreciate the article. I just want more facts to make my own decision about what is going on.

    • Thank you for this Velta. I also love Sarah’s articles and information, but then I read one of her right wing conspiracy theories and it wears on me. The biggest irony to me is that the revolutionaries she refers to in her article would have Rosie living in a box on the street. This is a sad situation and I hope that the article brings a positive response to the family in spite of the very negative and bitter tone in which it is written.

  57. You have to stop with your crazy and ignorant propaganda about Russia!!!! We were always able to grow our food there communism or not! I don’t know what you have learned in elementary school, but you better get your facts straight. As for USDA and this kid’s garden, then your country is in much more trouble than communist Russia ever was! Get your facts straight and stop spreading lies that mess up true historical facts!

    • Looks like you learned some revisionist history in elementary school, find some older family members who were there and learn your history from them. We may be in trouble in the US, but we are not exporting staple crops while millions of Americans starve to death.
      “After over half a century of denial, in January 1990 the Communist Party of Ukraine adopted a special resolution admitting that the Ukrainian Famine had indeed occurred, cost millions of lives, had been artificially brought about by official actions, and that Stalin and his associates bore criminal responsibility for those actions (Holod, The Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: In the Eyes of Historians and in the Language of the Documents1990, pp. 3-4).”

      • “We may be in trouble in the US, but we are not exporting staple crops while millions of Americans starve to death.” That’s not exactly true…

  58. Folks, USDA Rural Development has no such policy. Long story short, this is a property management outfit that didn’t want the garden there and cobbled up a fake Federal policy that would “tie their hands” so that they wouldn’t take the heat.

  59. the US has become borderline retarded the past 3/4 years. I dont see any reason to live there anymore…there are a lot of other countries that really are the “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” . American isn’t one.

  60. this is our gov, at its best not worried one bit about the trillions of dollars they spend but worried someone might eat something not pumped full of hormones welcome to the new china we have no rights anymore the patriot act wait the theft of oil was the end of them WHO CARES SHE HAS A F’IN GARDEN boo hoo dont tare it up f em

  61. SO… some garden is being blamed on some gimps kid, alrieady maxing out every charity and welfare system, then when they trespass and try to use ususfructus of anothers land without permission, some idiot comes up. writes a story blaming other countries.. wow you’ve just set back your own sanity a few dozen paces. What do you want? Kid to be taken and put to work on some foster farm somewhere? No answer as to why from the property owners, not even a “no comment” maybe we better repeal the first amendment. now I have to block this site that I might have been interested so I don’t see a hundreds of letter outraged at the author of that piece of crap. So better put them (and everyone) out on the streets and let them fend for themselves apparently. But whatever it is.. article is real garbage.

  62. The Obama’s don’t own the White House…it is housing that has been provided by the government, but Mrs. Obama and her girls were allowed to dig up the White House Lawn and plant vegies.

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  65. I think this is misunderstanding. And beside they do not own property from it looks like. I know it is sad to take away the people’s garden. But if they are allowed a garden then everyone is allowed a garden, which the property mangers may not be able to handle, so they fell back on what the law said so that way no one has it. I am not trying to take side. I think the girla dn her mother deserve to have the garden, but what if another renter wanted a garden, built one and never maintained it? That is then damaged piece of property.
    I don’t think they are trying to be mean, they just don’t want to get in trouble with other renters.

  66. If the home owners association, HUD, landowner is against tilling the ground for a garden then at least let them grow a container garden. Seems like a reasonable compromise to me.

    I think there is a plan to control our food supply and my guess is if you could follow the thinking behind denying a young child a garden, you would find something far more serious then an objection to how it might look.

    Were losing the America I was raised to love…I don’t see how we can get back from here.

  67. Give me a break. That 4 year old girl did not put together that garden with the raised beds by herself. I suppose she drafted up the plans herself. It looks like someone put in a garden and took a picture of the little girl in it. You are all being manipulated.

    • The pic is just a girl at a garden. This is not the same child. It might just be a few rows of tomatoes, peppers, and a few items. It might not even be built up like the picture.

  68. They should get to finish the season. Seeds still cost money. Let them know they have to find elsewhere next year!

  69. People in low income housing can grow Marijuana INSIDE their homes, but not outside….something is really wrong. This is one reason I believe EVERY department in our Government needs a Citizen’s Committee that can review rules like this and get them revoked.

  70. They are living in government subsidized housing and their only income is government disability payments. When you owe your soul to the company store they get to tell you what you can and cannot do. If they don’t like it they should get out from under the support of the government and regain their freedom. Don’t get me wrong, I think what the USDA is doing is asinine and wrong, but that is what you have to put up with when the Government owns you. It’s the government’s property…no different than a HOA.

  71. Michelle Obama needs to be made a ware of this! If I knew how, I would send it to her. Hope somebody can get this accomplished.

  72. For those of you who don’t think this is right in-line with the progressive playbook, you need to examine some history of how progressivism works.

  73. Gotta love those liberals! On the surface of this sweet 4-year old VS the big bad gubmint I’d side with the little girl , of course. But as many have pointed out already, there ARE rules in government housing. If you want free sh*t, you’ve gotta go by the sh*t-giver’s rules. Poor Rosie is very unfortunate to have been born to a disabled mother and an apparently absent father. But liberals are the very ones wanting to INCREASE government’s influence in our lives by redistributing wealth to welfare recipients. And it’s typically liberals ( global warming believers, organic farming advocates, environmentalists, anti-factory-farming, etc. ) who propose community gardens to counter the very public housing slums they politicked for thirty years ago in the name of racial equality. In 1965 it was ” Poor Rosie has no place to live! ” Now, it’s ” Poor Rosie can’t act like a free citizen on government property!” Make up your minds, liberals!

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  75. The article reads:
    The Federal bureaucracy seems to think that it owns those individuals who receive any sort of government assistance and that their behavior is completely within its jurisdiction to control no matter how ridiculous or blatantly un-American the power-tripping “rules” they decide to put in place may be.

    Well guess what?, That is true. Don’t believe me?, Just wait until Obamacare is fully implemented—We will all be “owned”

  76. Proud not to be a Bureaucrat. This is just another sad story where money becomes more important than common sense and kindness. I really hope the little girl will be able to continue her garden!!!
    If you are interested in more stories like that you guys should watch the documentary “Farmageddon”.

  77. AnonymousWorldwide August 25, 2013 at 12:04 am

    They don’t want to start taking away human freedom, we protect that dearly.

    Just watch and see for we shall do all that’s in our power.

    EXPECT US!!!

  78. The sad part is that most of these are backed by multiple precedents. In order to change this would take an overhaul of much of the laws we hold so dear.

  79. Be very careful here: the USDA is not the power behind this crackdown of regulations — the property management company is. While they may be using a rule set by the USDA to enforce the terms of their contract with one of their tenants, it is still the property management company’s contract. And the prohibition of structures built by the tenant is a typical feature within a rental agreement — it allows the landlord the power to ensure their grounds are safe and well-kept.

    I don’t know if you quite understand what political action you are advocating, but were the government to involve itself, like you’re suggesting it should, it would require a breach of property rights. You see, it’s whoever OWNS the property that holds the rights to it, not the renter, consumer, or passerby. To believe the opposite is to believe in community ownership, not personal ownership, to believe the desires of one person outweigh the rights of the other. The thought of this little girl growing a vegetable garden is a nice one, but don’t use it as a vehicle to convince us that property no longer has value. The removal of property rights would be the easiest way to bring our country closer to the Socialist Republic (soviet Russia, as you called it), not telling a family they are not allowed to break a rental agreement they signed. Such would be the greatest evil of all.

    If you read this, please don’t send that letter as the above blog post asks you to do. I’m only 24 years old and I would like the ability to own a home some time in my life, but if we hand over the right of property to our government, I won’t ever have that chance.

  80. Has anyone else noticed in the picture that her garden is a pallet with a black garden tarp under it that is sitting in a landscaped bed. The issue is not that she has a garden, or that they want to punish her for providing. The issue is that they do not want a “structure” near a landscape. I would be upset if I had a rock garden and you through her pallet on it. All they would have to do is find a place to relocate it so it is not in the landscaping, or move the plants to pots.

    • It doesn’t give the name of the child or the place where she lives. Do you think that this is an actual photo of this child and her garden?

  81. The basis of a free people is self-reliance; when that is taken away they the kept become the serfs of the one who feeds, clothes, houses, and takes care him. In a free society, there are charitable organizations – lots of them- who gladly help those in need. In this particular case, I have no problem with this woman getting direct help from the federal government – we should be providing a safety net for those who can’t help themselves. At the same time, if there’s a way (such as teaching a little girl to grow part of her own food) to help the children learn self-reliance and the value of hard work, then there’s more of a chance that she will grow to be an independent hard working adult providing for herself and maybe for her mom as well. If this story upsets you read SB510 2012 The Food Safety and Modernization Act.

  82. This makes me so sad. We need to re-think all “landscaping” to begin with. If it isn’t grass that is being used by children and pets for play, and it’s not a ecologically sensitive area or a wildlife habitat, it should be allowed to be ripped up and cultivated. No wonder we have an obesity problem in this country!

  83. alice uyen nguyen August 25, 2013 at 3:00 am

    Unbelievable got this rules on earth? OMG what’s wrong with the freegardening and self-reliance??? My dad grew a lots of herbs, vets, carrot, squash, chilies, lime, lettuce around the house. When i was kid, those went beyond our need and i even sold to people for my allowance funds.

  84. “Hello Ms. Meeks,

    I read the following article with an open mind and wonder if understand correctly, the problem is that the girl unwittingly put her garden on property her mother is not renting. Is there not someone locally who could give her a few pots and a bag or two of potting soil so she could transplant her plants and put them on her front step or something simple like that? I’m sure no one really wants to see the thrift and responsibility of a youth crushed, but a little help for her and perhaps a gently delivered lesson in how to go about things that will empower her future wouldn’t go amiss. Wish I lived closer, I’d deliver the items and help her dig them up and transplant them myself. The best to both of you in sorting this out.”

    • Sorry, forgot to note, that’s a copy of what I sent to the individuals noted. Not really interested in the comment being published. Just wanted to share. Surely there are two sides as in every other situation I can think of. Thanks.

  85. Furor Teutonicus August 25, 2013 at 3:32 am

    I send my best wishes and moral support, but I do not think my “vote” would count very much, They do not seem to take notice of U.S Citizens, so a vote from Germany would probably not reach any further than the Trash can.

    Good luck to the girl, and her Mother. Hope you win youre fight.

  86. The governments primary intention is to KEEP people on public assistance. It they allow people to climb up and out of public housing and assistance, those government workers might have to go out and get a real job.

  87. “if you wish to further verify the validity of this very real story”

    The “very real story” part is like out of an Onion parody. And the fixed income disability part is straight out of Dickens.

    This is someone drumming up likes/hits for their site(s) and cause(s). There are no verifiable facts stated in any of the above. They suggest you email the people behind this “article” to prove the veracity of this “very real story.” But why should you since it’s clearly stated it’s not only real, but very real.

    The only thing that can be known is this picture–that you might imagine is little fake-named-Rosie-to-protect-the-innocent–is the FB banner picture for this page…

    https://www.facebook.com/kitchengardeners

    Which I’m sure they’d appreciate you went to and liked.

    (Seriously, people, this cause is innocuous enough, but how about some critical thinking and not blindly passing along info because it fits in with your ideology? Because the same tactic is used with causes not so innocuous.)

  88. This is what they bought 1.6 B rounds of ammo for. If we don’t obey and comply they will come after us.
    Paranoid conspiracy?? Read the story above. Google ‘lemonade stand’ and look for the links to kids having their stands shut down by the police.

  89. Most folks think this is all crazy because we have a very strong tendency to live in firm conviction to our prejudices, but after years of study I can tell you folks in no uncertain terms, that the girl in this story nor her parents (nor the vast majority of the readers here), are held to legally live under the federated United States of America created in 1776 or reorganized in 1789; but rather, an extended state ‘district’ of the United States Municipality of the District of Columbia, created in 1871. Prior to that institution, there was technically no such thing as a ‘citizen of the United States’. Only afterward, could such a ‘member of the municipality’ called ‘The United States’ be specifically designated and unwary acceptance of that citizenship implies such municipal membership … outside the original protections of our State municipal polity.

    Under that exclusive Congressional jurisdiction (called ‘Property’), the provision of Art. IV, Sec. 3, cl. 2 of the Constitution allows Congress to rule without any federal or State Constitutional constraint. So, now that Congress is turning into a dictatorial, power-hungry Maw, since At Common Law, this legal status of citizenship was all orchestrated and propagated by Fraudulent pre-meditated obfuscation of Material Facts; on those grounds we can set into the Public Records, our choice to remove ourselves, lands, chattels and goods, back under our respective original, ordinary State jurisdictions, to re-assert their protections of our Natural Rights by Due Course of the Common Law.

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  91. “Dear Director Meeks,

    I take it that you have already received some emails about this matter and I believe that you are quite tired of having to click your way through them, not having the will nor energy to read them. I don’t blame you, but I ask you to at least read what I have to say. I will be grateful.

    The story of the 4-year old daughter of a disabled woman in South Dakota whose little garden soon will be destroyed has made its way to Sweden. There are many matters of urgency in this world and when reading about 4-year old Rosie, I can’t help but also think about the children who fell victims of the recent gas attack in Syria. How a society value its children, its most precious, its future, tells us where we have been and in what direction we are aiming.

    Rosie may not be one of the children struggling to survive in a war zone, but she is her own experiences, her own world, and every person telling her that she has no right to be happy and healthy, no matter how big or small the action, will be part of her reality, identity and self worth.

    I believe I am preaching to the choir when I say that Rosie is an invaluable proof of life and hope in a world where many children suffer. She is planting her own garden, giving life and love to the beings she care about. This is one of the most important values to give a child – that she, by being loving and caring and patient, has the power to give life to others. That she is strong and independent, an ambassador of power, and that if you believe in change, you can make it happen.

    I am asking you to choose to be a part of that change. I am asking you to consider what you are telling yourself when a small child’s garden is a threat to laws and regulations. I am asking you to think about this, only for a little while, and then to do what you in your heart believe is the right thing to do. In your heart, not intellectually, since I myself know how we in our work roles so easily deprive ourselves of the right to feel. And then I am asking you to demonstrate that power in an action against the regulations prohibiting Rosie from having her garden.

    I urge you to make a loud and clear statement to all the property management companies your agency contracts that USDA-subsidized residents have the right to keep their own vegetable gardens provided that these gardens are actively maintained. Vegetable gardens grow healthy and affordable foods as well as a sense of community. Rather than preventing low-income and disabled residents from providing for themselves, we should be doing everything we can to encourage them. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

    Thank you for reading this through.

    Kindest regards,

    Emilia, Malmö, Sweden”

  92. Regina Alexander August 25, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Dear USDA,
    You can go fuck yourself. I can/will grow whatever I want,whenever I want. You do not own the land and you do not own the seed. It’s my GOD!!! given right to grow whatever kind of food I want on MY OWN LAND. You better check yourself before you wreck yourself. You want a fucking revolution, well bring it on!!

    • “ON MY OWN LAND” being the key phrase here… I’m sure this is what the landowners are the property in question are trying to say.

        • funny, I agree with you both. Maybe instead of condemning this young lady and her “industrious” spirit if you will, perhaps they could encourage them to do more of this exact thing. From my experience and I know it isn’t all, but most people living in subsidized housing are either deadbeats or just simply worthless and could use a little hard work not to mention the benefit of providing for themselves and/or their community.

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  94. The article does not go far enough. It should name the local Rural Development employee who told these folks they could not grow vegetables and give their email as well.

    Go beyond email, telephone:

    Elsie Meeks (605) 352-1100 ext. 1101

    Trace Davids: cell (605) 530-6546, (605) 330-4515 ext. 4

    Kevin Strickler: (605) 330-4515 ext. 4

    South Dakotas US Senators

    Senator Tim Johnson, serves on a committee that oversees Rural Development,

    http://www.johnson.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Contact

    Senator John Thune, United States Senate SD-511, Washington, DC 20510
    Phone: (202) 224-2321, Fax: (202) 228-5429, Toll-Free: 1-866-850-3855

    South Dakota’s US Representative

    The Honorable Kristi Noem
    US House of Representatives
    226 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington DC 20515
    Phone (202) 225-2801
    Fax (202) 225-5823

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  97. Government housing, they can shut down a little girls garden but they just can’t seem to do a damn thing about thugs selling rock, punks destroying the place or thieves from stealing anything their poor neighbor forgets to bolt down or lock away.

    Shaking my head.

  98. My business is no longer convinced the best place you’re helping your info, nevertheless very good issue. I need to invest a little while understanding extra or maybe comprehension far more. Thank you for exceptional information I became seeking this data for my vision.

  99. Furor Teutonicus August 25, 2013 at 8:45 am

    As a matter of (my) interest, do you have “Allotments” or “Schreber Garten,” in the U.S?

    Where a piece of land is set aside for city dwellers to plant ….. nun ja, whatever. But plant?

    Members of the group get a half Acre, or something, and can plant/grow what they want (within the law…. :-) )

    • Yes.. they are called community gardens here. They are maintained usually by anyone in a neighborhood that has an interest in gardening, sometimes through neighborhood associations, which is an organized group of the communities residents. Sometimes, a housing development or other neighborhood community requires that the residents sign a document called a covenant to be able to buy property in a neighborhood. That is what I think is at work in this situation. That, or the residents rent their dwelling at a reduced rate that is subsidized by the government and managed by a staff of professional property managers that work for a (contracted to the government) property management company.

  100. Pingback: USDA Shuts Down 4-Year-Old’s Garden | Alternative News Alert!

  101. As some others have already mentioned here, this family signed a contract upon moving in that told them exactly what was expected of them. Somewhere in the contract it had to be mentioned that they would not be allowed to alter the landscaping around the building to suit their own purposes. Nearly every multi-family rental complex has these rules. It was not right for this family to think they are above the rules they agreed with when they signed on that dotted line.

    If they really want to garden, they can get some pots for their porch or find a local community garden where they can rent space. Conversely, they could also rally up the neighbors and petition for a community garden on the landlord’s land. I’ve seen it happen before, where the landlord agrees to give so much space to each occupant so long as the garden is well tended and nothing illegal is grown.

    This family had options. They simply went the entitlement way – poor choice.
    Atheisthomesteader\’s last post: Floor joists are up

  102. “The property management company claims that gardening goes against the rules set by the USDA’s Rural Development Agency which forbids residents to have structures of any kind within landscaped areas.”

    How is having a vegetable garden adding a “structure” on subsidized land?

  103. myfriendscallmetiny August 25, 2013 at 9:40 am

    The fact is, $628 a month is almost starvation level income and with food prices and health care costs ratcheting up those folks need this extra bit to make it. I used to be a landlord and the ones who would be this industrious were almost entirely “good people” to have as tenants. It would be easy to establish a garden plot and most likely it would reduce the landlords costs if they agreed to do upkeep. I want industrious people like this as tenants.

  104. Most apartment/condo rentals DO NOT allow any type of outside planting or deco.. This is for the reason that people have different veiws of what is pretty. Some may have a great landscape idea that has 10 pink flamingos.. I don’t want that in my yard, but some may.. So,, I see the reason behind this.

  105. Pingback: USDA To Confiscate Illegal Vegetable Garden From 4 Year Old

  106. Pingback: Forbidden News » USDA To Confiscate Illegal Vegetable Garden From 4 Year Old

  107. So let’s have the property management’s address so we can convince them! Clearly they are using non-existent rules made up on the spot to harass this young girl and her family. It may be faster to convince them than to wait for the USDA to come out with a pro-policy.

  108. The only issue I see is the pallet used in the garden. Pallets are used and reused for carrying may different products including chemicals. Chemical residues can be absorbed into the pallet. These chemicals could be leaching from the pallet into the ground then into the vegetables.
    Otherwise bravo to the young girl for her efforts.

  109. Landlord, like all landlords is a dick. It is illegal to be poor in the USofA. Vote Green Party.

  110. Container garden on the porch! No laws against that! They are in planters like flowers. She could even use hanging baskets…just have them haning a bit lower! They cannot stop her completely from growing her own food! Container gardening will has nothing to do with the property or landscape! Don’t give up, sweet child!

  111. Ummmm from what I can tell from this article, it looks like the landlords, or “property management company” are the ones prohibiting the garden, not the USDA. I cannot believe how gullible people can be on the internet, as if the USDA has the time, energy, or resources to micro-manage like this. If you really want to help “Rosie” and “Mary,” send a petition to the landlords, which is looks like there is no contact information for. It seems to me that the author of this article doesn’t really care about helping anyone and is just using the situation to push some kind of stupid right-wing political bull-crap agenda. “Hurrr Durrr USDA hates little girls rawr Obama hates freedom gimme mah guns hurr durr.” Ugh.

  112. It seems to me, based on that addendum, the failure to change the headline to reflect the truth is irresponsible journalism:

    QUOTE
    UPDATE 8/25/2013: Roger Doiron, Director of Kitchen Gardeners International, has provided more details on this emerging story. The USDA has claimed in email correspondence to Mr. Doiron that it has no written rules preventing Mary and Rosie from having a garden (despite the property management company’s insistence to the contrary).
    END QUOTE

    In my life time, we have gone from the extreme of being too trusting in government to the opposite extreme of blaming government for everything – often without out basis and as the result, at times. of sloppy thinking

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist August 25, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      I considered changing the title based upon the updated information from this morning, but the fact is that the USDA is just saying there is no written rule against the garden. Bureaucratic rules are confusing and open to interpretation by whatever bureaucrat is reading them at the time. The property management company contracted with by the USDA is saying there IS such a rule and by doing nothing, the USDA is agreeing with the property management company and essentially, through its inaction, enforcing such a rule, whether it be written or unwritten.

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  114. This is just one very small issue when you look at the big picture about how more and more of our rights are being taken away all the time.

    No matter what party is in Office, the harm keeps coming to the American peoples rights.

    People need to also wake up and understand that we have a United Nations, that can over-rule ANY law that we make and can violate our rights as voters.

    The American people have NOT had a voice for some time and this needs to change before every one of our rights are gone forever.

  115. Pingback: 4 Year Old Girl’s Vegetable Garden Must Go, Says USDA |Secret Done

  116. None of the links below connect with an actual news story… the wording is identical and being circulated. I’m wondering how much truth is in the story, even the photo is not of Rosie. Where is the original story?

  117. It seems that whenever I read an article where the people have a beef against the government, the label of ‘communism’ is primarily used; however, in this case it would have been more appropriate to apply ‘fascism.’ Our government is bought off by and pretty much controlled by big businesses and their interests, not to mention filled with appointments with representatives of big business. Fascists want to control the entire country, not own it like Communists would want to.

  118. I, too, am against government intervention into basic rights such as the right to raise our own food. However, there are a few fundamental things wrong with this story. According to the author, the USDA had nothing to do with a citizen being denied the right to garden. The property owners are alleged to have done so, claiming violation of USDA rules. In the update at the bottom of the story the author even admits that they received correspondence from the USDA that they don’t prevent this type of gardening. So we would have to begin by changing the title of this blog article to “4 year Old Girl’s Vegetable Garden Must Go, Says Property Owners.” Next the author claims that this is the “latest crackdown on citizens simply trying to provide for themselves.” What were the other crackdowns? Having lived in an agricultural community for a decade I know of lots of programs sponsored by the USDA to assist small, family farms and even all kinds of hobby agriculture. I haven’t heard of any actions or intent by the USDA to stop or hinder agriculture. That would kind of take the “A” out of “USDA” in my opinion. Finally, a 4 year old raising a vegetable garden? Really? Show me a pre-schooler raising a vegetable garden and we could have an international story.

  119. I think the problem with this is that they are subject to contract law (as are we all)…When they signed the contract to move in, I assume they agreed to abide by the “rules”. To take it further, we are ALL under contract to this system…We were sold to the “gubberment” by our parents (and theirs before them) when they voluntarily put us on a contract called a birth certificate, hence we are owned by the dept. of commerce, and considered a resource.

  120. Let’s stick to the FACTS here. The story (twice) says the landlord — not the USDA — says the garden must go. This kind of smear and slant tactic that’s made reasonable political discussion in the country all but impossible

    • it clearly states this is government property and the RULES for subsidized housing say you cannot have a structure within landscaped areas. Who do you think controls subsidized housing? Who do you think makes up the rules??? Do you believe the property manager makes up the rules for the government?????
      Better get your head out of the sand, unless you want to eat that for eternity!

  121. There will come a time in America (fast approaching) When food will be so scarce that people will be digging up parking lots for the fertile ground underneath to grow food for the masses. Rules will be thrown out the window, possibly at the expense of civil war.

  122. I think they know exactly what they are doing. Much like farmers cannot use seeds left over from the year before or hold seeds to use later. They want to corner the market on all food products, so we are dependent on the government for all food products.
    I live in the delta region of the south. Farmers galore. Most would be shocked at the restrictions being placed on farmers, how much land they can plant, who they can sell to, what they are allowed to grow, where the seed comes from, etc…..

    • There is no restriction on farmers holding over seeds, if they use heirloom seeds. If they use hybrid seeds with intellectual property rights then they have to buy seeds again every year. If they don’t then they violate the purchase agreement for those seeds and it wouldn’t help them anyway since seeds produced from hybrid crops typically won’t breed back true to the crop from which they came. And that isn’t the government making that “rule” it is the companies who spend their investment dollars to produce the hybrid seeds in the first place. They why would farmers use these seeds? Because they determine that they increase their profits. It is a choice by the farmers and not an evil plot by the government.
      Visit an Amish farm or other farms where seeds are held over. No restrictions by the government. Also no ability to compete nationally because the yield is lower or crops are less pest-resistant. However, it is a choice.

  123. Pingback: USDA: 4 Year Old Girl's Veggie Garden Must Go | Conservative Thinker

  124. Communist USSR you meant? Russia isn’t a communist country. I was born there. In elementary school, they did not provide you with accurate information. You did not need a permit to grow food, but you did need a permit to a land if you were growing it outdoors. For instance, I grew many things (onions, tomatoes, oranges, lemons, herbs, etc.) in our apartment.
    There were many ridiculous things I found upon arriving to the U.S. To me in many ways U.S. seemed to still be a Wild West. But this thing is simply silly. We always grew veggie and herb gardens as kids in our schoolyard. I don’t see what authorities have gotten against this particular garden. Seems to me that this girl is more grown up than authorities working on this case.

  125. Pingback: 4-Year Old Daughter of Single Mother Told By USDA to Give Up Growing Vegetables!* | Hwaairfan's Blog

  126. Better Question! Why is the USDA subsidizing house? Seems like developing rural areas (farmland) would be counter productive to there mission. Kimd of ironic that the USDA is trying to stop some one from growning food.

  127. I has been my experience when living in Public Housing that rules against gardening are NOT about food, but about neighborhood strife when somebody’s kids decide to pick someone else’s tomatoes & pelt folks with them, etc. and about maintenance manpower needed to clean-up, after folks move and leave a mess of dead plants & unfinished garden projects.
    I fully support trying to get “The Projects” across America to encourage gardening, but can’t buy into The Man Doesn’t Want Poor Folks To Have Food In Their Yard.

  128. hi sarah, you are not providing us computer morons an easy way to forward this, also i dont know how to use facebook,why not an “email this” button? thanks, jeff

  129. Really seems that they should mandate every available space be used to garden instead of bare patches, and grass that needlessly uses vital resources (water, fertilizer, coil) that could be put to better use providing sustenance..but no let’s have these patches of GRASS that serve little real purpose other than looks..and people who COULD very well grow a few vegetables sit in their apartments doing nothing for the ecology..much better..because the GRASS looks better than crops??

  130. and here’s a different way of doing things from the uk
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2397899/Community-transforms-Victorian-passageway-Middlesbrough-homes-oasis-greenery.html

    community gardens, allotments, growing plants for food, communal gardens etc not only help people to eat healthier, they also help create and foster community, help reduce crime etc…etc
    i suggest that the mother and the little girl get the other people in the apartment building to also grow stuff together, make a vertical garden up the walls, create hanging baskets and put them on any balconies, window sills, hang them from the window brackets etc…
    transform the whole area.. and then see what ‘they’ say

  131. I don’t think the problem is with the government in this particular case. I think the property management company us just using the USDA as an excuse to save itself what it considers to be some headaches by not allowing the garden. I think it’s entirely the doing of the property management company.

  132. this is crzy. let the girl have her little, and i mean little garden, for Christ’s sake meaning literal, she is just trying to help her mother out since the government dont want to, and then thye want to tke this away from her and her mom, get real people and wake up before it is too late. GOD sees all!!!

  133. Pingback: USA has become Communist Russia | Alternative News Network

  134. The headline is misleading. It wasn’t the USDA that said this. It was the management company for the apartments. This is about local control and some creepy power seeking freak getting out of control. Residents of the complex and neighbors need to organize and get this pseudo “authority” to back off! P.S. I doubt it was the garden that prompted the issue, more likely the pallet was viewed as a “structure”. None the less the remedy should not be getting rid of the garden. Some accommodation is certainly in order.

  135. I don’t believe that this is government’s task, to house people. That said, it does. No rules about gardens, then the property management company can be sued for enforcement of something that does not exist.
    But, tell me why in a state that is largely farmlands, someone in the list of acquaintances, or even a stranger, cannot pick up this task, perhaps give a ride to the people involved, and permit them to garden on “their” land, perhaps even teach them.
    This was the kinds of things that used to occur before government took over the tasks of everyhitng. Now people do not pay attention to what’s around them where they could help. Government cannot be responsible for more than what it is made for, the protection of people’s rights. The article mentions mom’s disability, but not what it is. My own experience with disability is that very often people can do something in the way of becoming viable members of communities of they live within. I don’t know whether that is the case here or not. But with a “totally” disabled mom, there should be someone around to “look after”. My heart goes out to this little girl, though. But I think this could be something that the community, the people (exclusive of government) can pick up on.

  136. What is needed are designated areas approved for gardening in each managed lot. Landscaping is controlled by dangerous chemicals and that would have harmed the plants. I don’t see why she can have a petition drawn for her to have a designated area for just the tenants to be able to garden. I have seen some landlords building boxes for their families here in WV. Hope that helps. I know some places like Lowe’s or even Home Depot that would help out with her mother being disabled will donate lumber to make something nice for her to garden in. Look into it. Blessings Eva

  137. This is wrong to deny someone less fortunate the right to have a small garden. All the comments about the little girl and whether her mother had her out of wedlock or was married is just a distraction. Children have no control over how they are conceived by a married couple or not. The fact that this little girl wants to help her disabled mother and work in this garden touches me. I worked in gardens picking vegetables when I was a small boy and helped shell peas and beans and earned a lot of self esteem from this. My family lived in the housing projects when I was 9 & 10 years old and the people couldn’t have a garden, but they could put containers on their small front or back steps and have a tomato plant or squash plant and some flowers and it meant a lot to them. No matter where you live, you should be able to have a small garden or some container plants as long as it’s kept up and not hazardous or unsightly. The way to lift people out of poverty is to teach them to work and be self sufficient. Encourage people to work and learn instead of discouraging and disparaging them is the best answer. I know that little girl has a lot of positive self esteem from doing her part to help her mother that she loves like all children love their parents. The government seems to want to take our dignity from all of us and especially the most vulnerable and defenseless. This child and her mother need our prayers and the mean spirited property manager needs them, too. This is just an abuse of power and nothing else. How a person gets on disability is not important. What’s important is they shouldn’t be punished for something that can’t be changed.

  138. I have been going through the same thing with my community garden. Ours is near the property where we rent, and have nothing to do with the complex other than the fact that it is the people who live here who are helping. EVERYONE who has helped with the garden has gotten eviction notices, including me. We fix vandalism daily, and we all assume the management is behind. The best thing you can do is to keep going! Hopefully you can get a lawyer pro-Bono to see if there is some way you can turn the tide against them, possibly for harassment?

  139. Though the healthyhomeeconomist asserts she is not the source for this story, the article reads as though she is. The source is actually a Maine resident who sells people gardening plans on the internet. I believe the story is a common type of fraud perpetrated on Facebook and blogs for the purpose of generating valuable marketing and political email lists through the on-line “petition” scheme. Perhaps the gardening guy is trying to generate a list to email his offers to. As I requested of the healthyhomeeconomist, she should make clear she does not know the veracity of this story and she does not know that the photographs are anything other than stock pics. Read the story: it is pregnantly devoid of any verifiable material. What would be the need to “protect” the people? Why not the name of the property management company? The first part of the story makes it seem the government is the bad guy, though Mrs. Obama is a well-known advocate of victory gardening. As a father of 4, I can assure anyone that even the most remarkable 4-year-old is not capable of creating a vegetable garden, let alone the professional-quality floral garden pictured in the piece. I emailed the man the healthyhomeeconomist says was her source and his reply was evasive and incoherent and he claimed to be considering pulling the petition because the property company had “moved” the garden(?!).

    • Thanks Mark, cooler heads prevail ! As I commented, there was more to this story then big against little, and as your research has shown, it is actually the slimy verses the naïve… The internet is full of opinions of less than knowledgeable people and packed full of scams, in the heat of the moment with the defenseless dangling before our eyes, we tend to react rather then act… So, yet another story that has a community up in arms is seen as bogus… When the truth comes, we will be numb! Thanks again!

      I am not a protester, I rarely, if ever, sign petitions, I have never seen a rally change anything but only sway opinion back and further. The only way to change wrongs or correct mistakes is to change it with logic and reasoning, all else is only a unruly gang filled with hate against the hated. So, I don’t fall for scams in general because my rule is if it sounds like a duck…

  140. There could be a number of environmental factors that could reason into gardens not being allowed in this area. For instance soil toxicity and urban pollution.
    I’m betting if they had potted vegetable plants on their porch and not on someone else city land no complaints would have been made. Some people are very moody about whats on their land… But a lot of city areas have toxic soil…and this says they live in a subsidized apartment complex, those are usually located in the ‘bad’ parts of cities which are very dirty and polluted…

  141. The property management people probably don’t know the difference between real vegetable plant and weeds. To them probably everything that is green and grows something edible, is a waste of time cause you can purchase the same thing in a store. All be it that it was picked way before ripening, and loaded with pesticides and other chemicals.

    Wonder what they would do if they came to my place and see my small garden of 85′ x 65′. I grow several rounds of crops every year. Start out with radishes, turnips peas and beets, then corn onions, tomatoes, and sunflowers. Followed by watermelons, cantaloupe and pumpkins (white ones, regular orange ones, and sometimes little baby ornamental ones. Forgot to mention the green beans.

    They would really come unglued over the fact that I fertilize with horse and cow manure over the whole garden area and tilled in after sitting over the winter. Also leave space open for chicken manure, but leave it sit for a few months then till it, leave it sit some more and till it again. I guess they would have something against raising my own chickens as well. Probably think that all eggs are fertile, even though there are no roosters in with the hens. Probably also think that roosters are needed for the hens to lay eggs too.

    Rambled on long enough but common sense and actual putting book knowledge to use seem to be at a different spectrum from the other.

  142. It makes perfect sense if you go under the assumption that the government wants people like this family to be dependent on the government. Lord forbid that they should have the initiative to help themselves.

  143. Kind of messed up, and I completely agree that the little girl should be able to grow her veg if there isn’t any health reason (non-food-worthy chemicals, etc) to bar her, but honestly, you should change the title of the story and put your update at the top of the article. The initial assertion has been shown to not be truthful, and it’s shoddy journalism on any account to bury the single paragraph that speaks to that at the absolute end.

  144. This is what I think is going on… Sun Tzu said (not verbatim obviously) that if you control the food, you control everything. The US government supports companies like monsanto who seek to create seeds that are only good for ONE generation of plants… no more seed saving, have to buy new seeds every year… they’re trying to monopolize the food INDUSTRY.. because here it IS an industry that makes a LOT of money. Raiding organic farms, trying to destroy heritage strains, trying to control everything that people can grow… it is a dire situation that most people don’t realize the severity of.
    Maybe people should stop flinging insults at each other and take a look at the bigger picture. This family is not the only one being targeted by regulations, (no matter who is trying to regulate) it is happening all over the country. We should be asking WHY? More, we should be asking WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT… and stand up and do it.

    • And if you bring non-GMO seeds in from another country they are confiscated when you enter the country. I live in Ukraine and an American friend took some seeds back. She was made to open her case and the seeds taken out when she arrived at the airport in America.

  145. I live in south Dakota and worked at several apartment areas in town that had disabled or limited income families. Unfortunately many of the property managers would not let you fart without permission. many people wreck it for the few as is the story normally. I would recommend guerilla gardening and container gardening as these would be the hardest for the manager to fight. I would also write letters up the chain of command and see if they owners of the properties would get involved and maybe get equipment ready and area if available to have an apartment community garden area….strength in numbers.

  146. people come on, this has nothing to with “communism” it has to do with corporatism. That’s who owns this government, not some idealogical zealots.

    Look into Monsanto, and there power, this little kids garden isn’t anything, it’s a pimple, look at the corruption. This government is this or that, it’s corrupt, it’s bought, that’s the bottom line.

  147. I would think that since the President’s wife is all about eating healthy food, she would be able to step in and encourage all families in subsidized housing to grow small gardens of healthy food.

  148. Pingback: Eat Drink Better | Cooking, healthy food, and sustainable eating!

  149. I have also heard (sorry not sure which state) that someone who owns their house has been forbidden to grow vegetables in their own front garden, for the simple reason it is the front and not the back.

  150. Although I think this is sad, I’m not really sure what this has to do with the government. The facts are this:

    The family does NOT own the property.
    The bed is landscaped (and therefore probably laden with pesticides or weedkiller).

    If the property management does not want a garden in that location, they have the right to demand it removed. Yes, it’s sad that they are not willing to work with the family, but again, it is their right.

  151. As horrible this appears, it’s not as bad as it sounds. I feel for the girl and her mother, but they are in FEDERAL SUBSIDIZED housing. However stupid they seem those rules are in place for a reason. Yes, it’s unfortunate, and yes, government is sticking its nose in everything these days, BUT that little girl and her mother are living in a safe environment with a DRASTICALLY reduced rent. She could easily be forking over her entire monthly check for a one-bedroom unit in a dangerous low-rent nieghborhood, or worse, living in a homeless shelter. Assuming, since the mother gets less benefits than I do, they are also receiving food stamps, they can use that money to purchase locally grown produce at the grocery store.
    They should ask their property manager to consider getting approval for putting planter boxes/plots somewhere on the property so they can grow veggies in accordance with HUD/USDA regulations. My apartment complex, which is federally subsidized by HUD, much like the one in which “Rosie” lives , has planter boxes in our courtyard, and many residents grow veggies & flowers in them. If you want/need government assistance so badly, as unfair as it can be, you NEED to play by the rules. Instead of crying foul, be thankful for what you have, and find a solution .Do I like all the rules at my place? No. Do I follow them so I can continue to live within my means in a safe environment? You bet your behind I do! If the property manager is them problem, they need to take their concerns to the regional manager.

  152. structures are buildings not veggies or is someone afraid they may grow into a high rise apt with no rental fees

  153. Pingback: USDA: 4 Year Old Girl’s Vegetable Garden Must Go

  154. be carefull what you ask for. if it can be proved who tends the garden, they are likely to reduce some of their benefits because they are growing their own food. i wouldn’t put it past them.
    do not send them money because that WOULD reduce any benefits they are getting. if you
    DO send money, send cash or gift cards. even postal money orders could be used against them.
    i am NOT kidding in saying the above. i have just applied for benefit assistance and i am being penalized for having $142.00 in the bank which is for bills. they don’t care.

    • How much food can you grow in a small garden anyway? I have a 1,000 sq ft veg garden and it provides us with, maybe, 20% of our total vegetable intake for the whole year, including what I can & freeze! I doubt that this child’s garden is even a fraction of mine.

      Just as a side issue, people like to think they are somehow “feeding themselves” like the settlers did 200 years ago just because they have a row of lettuce & radish. I encourage everyone to grow something, anything, in any amount, it’s good for your soul in every way, but it is really a spit in the ocean out of your food intake.

  155. if you really want to help, send them the fixin’s for a raised garden bed that they can erect on their own property, even on concrete. or window boxes that they can put right on their windows.

  156. Pingback: » 4 Year Old Girl’s Vegetable Garden Must Go, Says USDA

  157. I’m seeing a pallet wrapped with plastic across the bottom and filled with soil and planted. There is also a plastic container. It is not a garden planted in existing terrain and that is probably what the problem is. An above ground planting. I used to have rental property too and there is a reason why a landlord doesn’t want certain things going on. It’s a shame but instead of cursing each other how about putting together some money for them? Anybody up for a contribution to a fund?

  158. If feel as if I’m not getting complete information from this article.

    “forbids residents to have structures of any kind within landscaped areas”

    Is there some kind of structure built in the garden, perhaps a lattice on which vining plants may grow? Or is the property manager deeming the garden itself to be a “structure”?

    Perhaps that photo is the actual girl in garden associated with this story. If it is, tell her mother to lift that pallet out of there – problem solved!

  159. Most condo associations also ban people from growing food in the areas around the house. Container gardens are usually an exception. The landscaping grounds keepers use pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers that are toxic. They usually post flags when they do it to warn people about it. This story is about PUBLIC HOUSING. I bet they aren’t allowed to keep pets either. I think your take on this situation is more than a little off base.
    The fact that the USDA provides publicly funded housing in rural areas is amazing. I think it’s totally within it’s purview to keep people from potentially getting poisoned by landscaping compounds…and don’t go on a tirade about how they shouldn’t use them (it would be better if they didn’t but I don’t think you will get funding for expensive organic grounds maintainence from the Federal Goverment.) I’m sure if they wanted to grow something in a window box or in pots on their steps they might be able to.

    • These people don’t own or rent this land. It is not theirs to grow on and they could potentially get poisoned if they don’t wash their harvest correctly. It’s public housing in a rural area with grounds keepers who spray chemicals. It’s not wrong at all. If they want a space in the public housing complex to grow veggies they can work toward that and I bet they would get it. Reasons and excuses are very very different.

  160. Where is Michelle Obama? She advoates the healthy eating, lots of vegetables, growing one’s own vegetables. why doesn’t she speak out in this little girl’s behalf.

  161. Is anyone else concerned about the welfare of a 4 year old living with a SEVERELY disabled mother? Does she go out to this garden to take care of it by herself? I see nothing wrong with the garden, but I worry about who is taking care of this child.

    • I left out single mother. If she is a single mother, then is there no other caregiver who is not disabled? I guess this depends on how one defines severely disabled.

  162. The ranting in your article, and in the follow-up, seem very misplaced.

    It’s the property manager who appears to be at fault, not the Department of Agriculture. So why not have people write to the property manager to register their opinions, suggestions, scorn, and outrage.

    My hunch: it’s a lot more fun, and gets a lot more eyeballs, to bellyache about government bureaucrats instead of the private-sector bureaucrat who’s either ignorant of rules or (more likely) making them up on the fly and then blaming… the government.

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist August 26, 2013 at 6:56 am

      The property management company is under contract by the USDA and is hence an extension of the USDA. This company states that there is a rule prohibiting the garden. The USDA denies it via email. But, having had much experience with bureaucrats in the past, they say whatever they want to get people off their back. My most recent experience is with bureaucrats who have arbitrarily forced a dairy farmer here in FL to put synthetic vitamin A in their milk even though there is NO RULE on this for small dairy farms. This is the tyranny of a large bureaucracy – they do and say whatever suits them! They have no one to answer to and there is no checks and balances on their behavior except via an expensive and lengthy court battle. The USDA is in essence by doing nothing, enforcing and supporting the property management’s enforcement of the rule whether written or unwritten.

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  164. in australia, our government encourages people to grow vegetable gardens in their city homes. the problem with the USA is that you need to get corporations OUT of the government. i.e Monsanto. Your government is a ‘corporatocracy’. All the laws are being made to look after the corporations, not the people. Sadly, you people are to blame for this because you haven’t done anything about it… you buy their products and let them determine your lifestyles. Who on earth would want to live in the USA today? Despotism is thriving!! http://www.veryediblegardens.com/

  165. I am glad I live in Canada and not he U.S. where there seem to be so many heartless people, suspecting the worst from fellow citizens. Obviously, the initiative to grow vegetables by people in public housing should be encouraged rather than discouraged. And as already pointed out, one should not jump to conclusions about things one knows very little about.

  166. Here’s the deal.

    You live in Public Housing? Guess what? You do what THEY say. THEY are the government. You live in public housing you live by the rules. This is what you get for taking hand outs (whether you need them or not is beside the point).

    It’s called the NANNY STATE for a reason.

    Now, if YOU own the place you live, and someone comes and says, “You can’t grow your own food.” Take issue in the strongest way possible.

    CREATIVE SOLUTION:

    Grow the veggies in pots, or cans, and bring them in at night. It’s not a structure, and it’s NOT permanent. HUH?

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  168. How disgusting can an aspect be, when they don’t give a hoot about our health and well being to begin with, allowing Monsatan do their dirty work spreading toxins throughout our food industry along with toxic pesticides. So if people want to grow food and be self sufficient, besides to eat cleaner food; someone steps in to say you can’t do that?! This is totally wrong and where in the hell is American freedom in this situation? Why is it new rules are made up and children are disappointed when they’re just doing something good and healthy? Why do they have to come along and burst their bubble of pride in what they’re doing? This is disgusting and causes me to feel really disappointed yet again with our government and its unnecessary control and stupid nonsensical made up rules!

  169. I was having trouble with my computer and the words (of our government) were supposed to come after aspect and before be. Sorry about that.

  170. Agency “regulations” are NOT law. They are the agency’s “interpretation” of the law passed by legislators and it’s wide open for disagreement.

    Obviously, some plants or garden don’t qualify as a “structure” within landscaped areas.

    When you disagree with a government agency, you have to request an administrative hearing in “writing” and make sure you get a receipt that you requested the hearing.

    Since this appears to be U.S. agency, I would download and follow the Federal Administrative Procedure Act

    If you are denied whatever your fighting for in the hearing, you then have a set amount of time to appeal to that agency’s commissioners or directors. If you are still denies, then you have a set amount of time to appeal to a judicial court. If it’s a state agency, you would appeal to the appropriate state court. If it’s a federal agency, you would appeal the decision to a the appropriate federal court. You will need to read and study the related Administrative Rules and Procedures.

    If you don’t file a written formal complaint, then you will comply with the agency’s directives or face the consequences.

  171. I don’t know what different regulations may be in place in subsidized housing, but I live in an apartment and if I decided to dig up some of their landscaping (even “unused space”) the property management company would have an issue with that. They made an error by trying to pin the blame on USDA regulations, but that doesn’t make this issue a problem of “heartless government bureaucracy”; it’s a problem of one managment company’s short-sighted policies.

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  173. SARAH, this post is really inappropriate and you need to make a statement about it. It’s divisive for no reason. The situation is tantamount to violating the rental agreement you have with your landlord except that your landlord is the USDA because you need public housing. A better approach would be for rural public housing residence to request garden areas that would not be landscaped and that the residents would tend to by agreement. That is what condo associations do. And I’m sure the USDA would be very open to accomodate that in any facility that had the space. It is rural housing; that is why it is under the USDA and not HUD. The USDA does want people to grow food in a safe way. It doesn’t want it’s tenants to eat food that has been sprayed by lawn chemicals.

    • @Cheryl, they shouldn’t allow them to spray pesticides on landscaping that are SO TOXIC that you can’t even safely grow food near it. If you can’t grow near it, you probably should BE near it. If they are spraying toxic chemicals on landscaping, then that means it has already contaminated the local water supply, the air, and the people are ALREADY being exposed to it. These chemicals don’t dissolve or stay in one stagnant place. So what’s the difference if they are already being exposed to them through their water, skin, and air?

  174. It took much less of an attack on liberty to spark the REVOLUTIONARY WAR than the naked aggression of an out of control psychopath government that exists today.

  175. It is just a disgrace how the government is trying to mandate and cap our basic personal freedoms. I can attest that it is not just on a “welfare” level; my family has owned our home and spacious yard for generations and now all of the sudden, they want us to get rid of our pet chicken because there’s a new rule against it. Absurd!.
    I will be signing the petition you have listed in your blog for Rosie’s freedoms, and please take a look at and consider signing mine! We ought to stop this insane level of control before it’s too late. change.org/petitions/luzerne-county-let-dorris-stay-home-continue-allowing-chickens-in-pringle Thank you!

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  178. Hi Sarah,

    I can’t find any other independent corroboration of this story. Not a single site showing up in a Google search is an independently researched or written report. They’re all either re-posting your article or their offering “analysis” of your article. Can you cite any sources for this information where we can get a second or third source of independent confirmation ?

    Thanks!

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